The college application process marks a milestone in every student’s life, but with the excitement sometimes comes worry, confusion and stress. A few undergrads representing their schools during the Collegiate and Alumni Career Fair at the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo shared a few words of wisdom to keep in mind throughout the application process, as well as after that acceptance letter is in your hand.
Erin Whittaker of Purdue University recommends that students adopt the “4,3,2,1” success plan: Aim to graduate in 4 years, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, spend at least 2 hours studying outside of the classroom for every credit hour you take and make sure to participate in at least 1 leadership organization during your time on campus.
“Make sure to be organized,” said Billy Hatfield of the University of Illinois. “Organization is important in applying for schools and scholarships, but it also makes things a lot easier after you get in.”
Chris Stepping, also from the University of Illinois, recommends having a good support network, whether that be friends from home, friends from school or family. “Just don’t be afraid to get involved and don’t be shy,” he said.
A huge part of considering secondary education is to make sure the college fits you. “Do your research, and don’t wait until your senior year to start,” said Ray Person of Texas A&M. “Every school is different, so make sure you understand the school’s application processes, the deadlines and financial aid.”
Another Texas A&M Aggie, Katie Swift, recommends you make sure the school offers exactly what you want. “Visiting a campus is critical. Don’t accept a school you haven’t set foot on,” said Swift.
PJ Adam of Penn State stressed the importance of applying early. “Don’t wait until the last minute, and go for it even if you’re not sure if you’ll end up at the school.”
“Keep your options open and don’t forget about out-of-state schools,” recommends Ben Brown of Kansas State. “Just because something isn’t in your home state doesn’t mean it won’t fit you better.”
Another K-State student, Leanne Milleret, also reinforced the importance of a college visit. “With our campus especially, we have a huge welcoming, family atmosphere, and you can only experience it in person.”
~Hannah Kleckner is an agriculture sciences major at Penn State. Originally from Annville, Pa., Hannah was a member of the Little Dutchmen FFA Chapter but now serves as a member of the Penn State Collegiate FFA.