Senior’s Guide to College


Allie, an experienced college student talks about her first day, saying, “The nervousness was redundant. As I said a minute ago, it was terrifying, but exciting. Once I figured out more of how it works, made friends in classes, and became more comfortable and knowledgeable about the college atmosphere, it was great.” Allie Sarratori snaps a picture of her college on a regular day, excited to see what the new school day will bring and the new things she will learn.

Jade Flack, Staff writer

The new school year has begun, and as the old seniors are sent off to college, the newbies start applying. Now, even juniors have to start considering which colleges they wish to attend and how to do it. Although college seems like a scary subject, this article makes the process a lot easier with a 3 step guide to attending college and tips to survive.

Step 1: Pick a college.

Picking a college is a vital component in the college process (obviously). Certain things like your GPA, SAT/ ACT scores, and AP classes need to be taken into consideration when choosing your ideal school choices, because some have strict requirements. The location of the college is also a huge consideration such as in state, out of state, which state, which country, etc. Most seniors have a pretty specified idea of what they want to build a career in, which influences college choices the most. The easiest option is researching which colleges offer a program beneficial to you. It is best to narrow down a list of colleges to apply to and choose a top 2 or 3, based on provided classes, personal year preferences, locations, guidelines, and financial coverage.



Step 2: Apply.

Once you have narrowed down your list and you are left with the colleges you want to attend, you need to apply. Applications are typically filed online now through the college website or  . However when using common application, you apply to multiple colleges with one form, although colleges might have different requirements for applicants. The typical college application will ask for basic information such as your achievements, family background information, previous schools, grade point average, AP classes, extracurricular activities, and standardized test scores. Keep in mind the individual needs of a college when applying to multiple at a time. It is best to widen your choices to be safe and allow more options in the end; however, there is a fee when you reach a certain amount of applications.

Step 3: Financial Aid.

After being accepted to a college or multiple colleges, you need to pay tuition and many other fees.  Most students in need of financial aid will apply for FAFSA, which is a federal financial aid organization. Your submission includes your family’s financial situation and generates a student aid report (SAR). That report will contain an expected family contribution (EFC).  This is typically sent to the college you are attending to calculate your family’s financial stability and determine your aid award. After you complete the FAFSA, some colleges call for further financial papers. If you are interested in FAFSA and have specific questions, you can visit their website at or call them at 1-800-433-3243.

Five Big Tips to Survive:

  1. “Breathe” was the number one tip for your first day of college when asked a couple of college students.

“My first day of college felt like I was entering in a whole new world,” Perri Rabbitt, a former NFHS senior says. As she describes her first day of college, Perri relays how different but fun college is. She continues to advise, “Look at everything with fresh and exciting eyes, up for whatever challenges are ahead because they can be conquered.”

  1. You must develop a sense of self motivation. College workload is different in the way that you depend more on yourself when learning the material. College professors will provide everything, but you must learn and discipline yourself in taking the information and processing it. The college professors trust that you want to be there and that you want to learn, allowing you to lean on yourself.
  2. Take advantage of the free opportunities. Student fees are expensive, but you get a lot out of it. “Intramurals are free, and playing a sport for free probably has not existed in years. So yes, although you paid a lot, you receive a lot of incredible access to resources you are so thankful for, like a technology center that will download expensive software and fix your computer all for free” Perri says. There is really no excuse to not take advantage of these amazing opportunities when money is not a factor.
  3. Research the professors. There’s actually a site, where you can look up any professor and see reviews on them and then potentially to take or not to take a class. You are paying for class, and these teachers understand that. Using this website, you can find out which professor teaches a way you prefer and which teacher might not suite your educational needs.
  4. Take classes you enjoy. Allie Sarratori, a 2nd year college attendee enforces that you need to take classes you will not snooze in, unless a course is required. This goes along with being self motivated. You really are expected to handle the information on your own and almost completely educate yourself. “Classes become harder but you’re also expected to previously have known certain things, so choose some things that suit yourself and personal aspirations. You will not do well in a class you do not like or are motivated to do well in,” Sarratori continues. But above all have fun because, “Truly, college is just amazing.”