While college is considered by many to be the natural next step after high school, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not you’re actually ready for college. Apart from practical considerations such as finances, there are also equally important but less obvious considerations – do you feel ready for college? Keep reading for help figuring out what makes the most sense at this stage in your life.
The Finance Factor
Obviously, you have to feel confident that your college education can be paid for in order to be ready. Do you have a college savings account that was set up when you were young? Have you yourself been saving up for college over the past several years? Will your parents, family or others be helping to pay for school? Have you looked into your financial aid and grant options? Are you already planning to work part- or full-time while in school? There are many options to finance your education, but you have to have a plan for this.
The Academic Factor
How do your high school GPA and test scores compare to the typical accepted student at the schools you’re considering? Are you eager to go more in-depth on academic subjects that you studied in high school? Do you feel prepared to handle the academic demands of college and the need to balance your studies with your social life? If your stats are comparable and you answered yes to the other questions, you’re probably ready for college academically speaking.
The Life Goals Factor
Even if you don’t have a specific career path in mind, do your overall career goals generally fall within the range of professions where a college degree is expected or required? If you anticipate being a professional with high earning power, the answer to this question is most likely yes; however, this certainly isn’t always the case. Depending on your goals, you may do just as well by going to a trade or technical school, getting formal on-the-job training, or not having any formal education or training beyond high school. Take some time to think about what you want to do as a career and what level of education fits your needs best.
The Emotional Factor
Last but definitely not least is assessing how you feel about college. First, does the word “college” excite you or fill you with dread? If you’re thinking about going to college away from home, do you feel prepared to handle any homesickness that might occur during your first few weeks? How are your independent life skills – can you do your own laundry and (simple) cooking? Are you comfortable with the greater independence, more responsibility and more options that college delivers? Can you set your own schedule and time structure? Are you excited to meet new people and make new friends?
College can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, but you have to make sure you’re ready for it first in order to truly appreciate and take in the experience.