The Road to College
Anyone can go to college. That's right -- anyone. Don't believe the myths about why you can't go and get the facts about how you can make your college and career dreams come true.
Myth: I don't have the grades to get into college.
Fact: There is a place for any student who wants to go to college.
Many colleges have programs designed to support students who need some extra help. You may want to enroll in a two-year college to strengthen your skills before transferring to a four-year college. Your high school guidance counselor can help figure out what would be best for you.
Myth: College is too expensive for my family and me to afford.
Fact: There are many grants, scholarships and low-interest student loans available to help you pay for college.
Most students get some form of financial aid, making college affordable for many more families.
One essential step is to fill out the U.S. Government's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a form used to determine students' financial aid needs.
Also, ask the financial aid offices at the colleges to which you are applying what scholarships and student work programs they offer.
Myth: I can get a good job without going to college.
Fact: A college degree is now required for more jobs than ever.
College graduates earn more -- an average of 57.1 percent more -- than high school graduates. A certificate or degree may be a requirement for the job or career you want.
Myth: I can wait until my senior year to plan and apply to college.
Fact: It's never too early to plan for college. In fact, you should start in ninth grade.
Make sure you are taking the necessary classes and exams that will get you to graduation on time, starting with earning 11 credits and taking one Regents exam in ninth grade.
Throughout high school, think about what colleges and careers you might like. Visit college Web sites and campuses to get a sense of the type of school you would like to attend and learn what the admissions requirements are.
Myth: I don't have anyone to help me figure out the college planning and application processes.
Fact: Your high school guidance counselor is a great resource and can help you start planning for college as early as ninth grade.
Your high school guidance counselor can help you create a four-year plan of classes and exams to ensure that you graduate on time. He or she can also help you decide which colleges to apply to and how to manage the application process. Don't wait for your high school guidance counselor to introduce herself to you -- be proactive! A good relationship with your counselor is a shared responsibility.
Myth: My performance as a senior in high school isn't important.
Fact: Colleges review the classes you take and the grades you earn in your senior year.
The colleges you apply to will look at your entire transcript to determine if you take your education seriously and whether or not to admit you.