Are you a student who is thinking about going to college, but not sure when you should start planning, or what steps are involved in planning for college? If you said yes, to any of this, then you should keep reading. Early awareness can be the key to future success. When I was a senior in high school, I had no idea what types of colleges were out there, and especially what type of degree to pursue. I heard about this amazing university close to where I grew up in Winston-Salem, NC, so I applied to High Point University. I was lucky to end up at such a great school with having done minimal research. As a recent high school graduate, I did not realize that selecting the right major would be one of the most important decisions. I thought all majors had the same return on investment, so I basically just picked one. Data proves that some majors will lead you to more job opportunities post-graduation than others. So… what can you learn from this? Do your research.
It’s hard to know the type of degree/major you should pursue if you don’t know your career interests. You may be thinking, “ I’ll worry about my post- graduation plan during my senior year. Until then, I’m going to focus on my social life and enjoy being young.” It is important to have fun but you cannot wait to start thinking about your future plans. You are not too young to begin exploring your options! Begin discovering your interests, start developing skills, and begin researching schools and degree programs.
Ask yourself these questions: What are my interests? What are my skills? What activities could I participate in if I don’t already have interests or skills? What do I enjoy doing? Experience can give you a deeper sense of self-awareness. Learning what you enjoy doing and what you DON’T enjoy doing can help you narrow your focus. Self-awareness as it relates to interests and aptitudes EARLY on in life can help you make a wiser career choice when the time comes. Trying different hobbies can be a great place to start. This is actually one of my New Year resolutions for 2020. Trying a new hobby can help you see the world through a new lens. It can broaden your perspective and you will learn something new!
Not only is it important to start discovering your interests and skills now, it is equally important to work hard in school. The grades you make freshman year will impact what types of opportunities you may or may not have available to you at the end of high school. What if you wake up one morning and realize your “dream school” is no longer a possibility because your GPA is too low? You cannot wait until your junior or senior year to start caring about your test scores and grades. By that time, it could be too late. Even if you don’t plan on going to a four year school and desire to pursue a certificate program or a two year degree at a community college, academic effort and experiences still count for you. Having a strong work ethic can help you succeed in any career you choose. Work hard, play hard!
Trust me, you do not want to become the same clueless senior that I was. Don’t wait and be too late! Take ownership of your own future and start exploring your options.