It is no surprise that COVID-19 has altered the normalities of life. As a student, you have adapted to virtual learning, social distancing, and many other pandemic-induced changes. The thought of school starting soon may provoke fear, excitement, and lots of uncertainty for you. This is a natural feeling, and you are not alone.
I decided to ask junior Vivian Ewart to share what she wish she knew going into college. Vivian is a music education major and a presidential ambassador for admissions. I am a current admissions counselor, SWU alumna, and former student athlete. Read our advice below!
Our best advice for students preparing for college is to seek financial aid. Financial aid counselors want to assist you the best way that they can. We know financial aid can get a little confusing, so be sure to ask lots of questions. Find out what types of grants and scholarships may be available to you and apply for as many as you can.
Fill out your FAFSA early so that you have a good understanding of how much aid might be awarded to you. Lastly, if you are a first-generation college student or low-income student, research extra resources that can be available to you. SWU offers many resources through the TRiO program.
Familiarizing yourself with a college campus before enrolling could help ease some of that change-induced stress. If you are a sophomore or junior in high school, go ahead and start scheduling campus visits so that you have a good sense of the best fit for you. Also take advantage of the virtual tours schools are now offering. Narrow down your search to your top 3-5 schools and only apply to those.
Be sure to ask about requirements unique to each specific school: admissions, campus life, majors/minors, etc. This will tremendously help you, your parents, and your high school guidance counselor stay organized.
Meeting new people can be scary for some students. Do not compromise who you are to “fit in”. Start by finding clubs and social media groups that align with what you stand for. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to find your best friends the first week of college. Keep in mind everyone is transitioning from high school. Take a breath and find delight in knowing nobody else knows what they are doing either!
Knowing yourself is very important. If you know that you are NOT a morning person, try to schedule your more challenging classes for later in the day. Writing coaches and tutors are often available to students free of charge. Utilize these resources so that you can be successful. College is an opportunity to learn, grow, and meet new people. Enjoy yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes.