The Student News Source Of Kennedy High School

Kennedy Torch

The Student News Source Of Kennedy High School

Kennedy Torch

The Student News Source Of Kennedy High School

Kennedy Torch

A Guide to Picking College

Representatives+discuss+college+options+at+the+annual+Kennedy+Open+House.
Kloud Smith
Representatives discuss college options at the annual Kennedy Open House.

A new school year is marked for high school seniors by the realization that college is months away. Soon, they will select a college and commit to a brand new environment. This choice can bring stress to your early college career and impact your decision-making ability.

How do seniors make this easier?

Here are four tips to help you find the right college for you.

Know Your Goal


Identify the reason you are attending college in the first place.

College can serve as preparation for a future career or a way for a person to study their passions. Start with your interests or hobbies. What made you love them? Do you want to explore them further? If so, there’s likely a major you’ll enjoy.

“There’s a lot out there,” Bob Benson, Assistant Director of Admissions at Coe College, said. “It really comes down to tailoring interests. Find out what you’re interested in”.

Pick a school that fulfills your needs and allows you to grow your interests, some colleges will have more specific majors than others.

Bob Benson (Left) introduces himself to a family searching for colleges. (Kloud Smith)

Consider your Finances


College is expensive. Tuition, school supplies and rent leave the average college student graduating with $38,000 in debt.

“It’s a lot of money going to college. The college I want to go to is about $70,000 a year,” said senior Kaylee Osborn.

Without acquiring financial aid, you’ll be unlikely to pay off those debts without a well-paying job. Most colleges have automatic and selective scholarships which lower your costs if you meet certain criteria. Having good grades, writing a clever essay and financial need can all qualify you for scholarships or financial aid, whether from the government, the school itself or an outside organization.

Learn the Environment


Extracurriculars and community are important. Some schools have a large sports culture or host cultural events. Finding a school that has people you enjoy can be hard. Meeting students on a campus visit and asking college staff about the environment are effective ways to start.

“When I was walking around on campus, it really felt like home to me,” said Cole Westphal, an admissions counselor from Iowa State University. “That’s one thing I would encourage any student looking at colleges [to do].”

Small-town, city and country colleges provide different lifestyles. Whether looking for something new or close to home, consider your comfort and ability to live happily.

Talk to College Staff


Seriously. Just do it.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few colleges, talk to their staff. It’s an admission officer’s job to answer potential students’ questions and concerns. You may decide on another school but the information you learn can be invaluable.

“Getting in touch and connecting with the university’s staff and faculty will help you learn what you’re looking for,” said Westphal. “Whether that’s student resources, the financial aid component [or] maybe you want to learn about how to get involved with activities.”

Admissions staff can arrange meetings with professors and students, campus tours and give important scholarship information. Resident assistants can also answer questions about living on campus and balancing your schedule.

Always Remember!


College is a brand new set of responsibilities ranging from financial management, long-term relationships and living on your own. Taking time during the college hunting process can lead to higher success in these areas if you take all of your personal needs into account! Don’t forget, college isn’t all about grades, friends or a diploma.

College is about you.

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About the Contributors
Joshua Barker, Writer

Hello there! I’m Joshua Barker, an aspiring student at Kennedy High School and a future attendee of Coe College. I also love writing, research and debate which works perfectly with my journalistic work. Enjoy your time here visiting Torch!

Kloud Smith, Photographer

Hi, I’m Kloud Smith. This is my first year being a photographer for the Torch and an actor for Kennedy and Theater Cedar Rapids. The hobbies I do outside of school include singing, dancing, drawing and swimming.

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