Are You Prepared for College?

Born and bred a British, Shamima, 16, is all about creativity and self-expression. She wishes to pursue a career in Medicine and pursue her interests in poetry, fashion, writing and maybe in the distant future, property development

The transition from high school to college is a humongous leap and a really nerve wracking one too, especially if you’re not quite sure what to expect. Having been through the whole admission process and happily settling into college myself, here are some useful pointers I hope will help on your way.

1.  Which colleges to apply?

Don’t just blindly apply to colleges just because everyone wants to go there or it is said to be good, go see it all for your self. There could be various reasons as to why you’d want to apply to a certain college, the courses they offer, convenience, popularity, opportunities on offer, pass rates, etc. Whatever your decision is based on, go to the open days (usually listed on the college’s website, or call in and find out), talk to the tutors and get a feel of the place. Do you feel right at home and comfortable?

2. Expected grades:

Most colleges will usually ask for the standard 5 passes including English and Maths, but it really comes down to the college and the course you want to apply for, generally high standard colleges may ask for more including extra curricular. The better you do in school and the harder you work, the better grades you will be predicted and are likely to achieve in the end. What you must remember however is that, regardless what your teachers predict for you, it all comes down to your efforts. Colleges can accept your application now, but if you fail to reach the requirements, they can just as well drop you.

3. Personal Statement:

A lot of emphasis is put on this section of the application and you may feel under pressure to impress. Just be your self, talk about what you enjoy, your achievements and your aspirations, let them get to know you as a person.

4. Application:

Whatever you do, how ever you do, makes sure you give your application in on time, keep track of all the deadlines. Don’t miss out on applying out of carelessness.

5. Interview

The scariest part of the application process. My advice is to be naturally you. The interview is not only to see what you are like as a person but to help you to make sure you’ve chosen the right courses and that your goals are realistic. But be warned, if you’re applying to a really tough college, the interview could be pretty tricky. Make sure you’ve done your research on the college, your career and course choices.

6. Preparation:

What do you need for college? What to take with you? These are along the lines some of the things I worried about before starting college.

  • Make sure you have big arch-lever type folders for each subject and dividers for each folder. Organisation of your work it of utmost importance!
  • You will generally write on file paper so a refill pad is a good buy.
  • General stationary including highlighters and a corrector pen however it is you like to present you work – remember college is about individual learning.
  • If you’re the type of person who puts their entire kitchen into their bag, a good sized bag is essential.
  • A purse (unfortunately you’re going to have to use it a lot)
  • An umbrella if you live in a rainy area
  • Mobile phone is absolutely essential
  • Once you’ve got your ID card make sure it never comes out of your bag, it’ll save you a whole lot of stress.
  • Timetable, make sure you have more than one copy, with room numbers and tutor names.
  • There may be other things that you’d need along the way, you’ll find out as you settle in. Be mentally prepared for the unexpected and to meet lots of new people, maybe make new friends.

7. Starting college

Try your best to put your nerves behind you; it’s the biggest barrier, preventing you from getting to know people and settling in. Relax and remember that there are loads of others in the same boat as you, and you’re pretty much expected to get lost or walk into the wrong class or even turn up late. And while individual study is emphasised, you will get all the support that you need, don’t be afraid to ask for extra help when you need it. Once you get over the gaps in your time table and the lack of restrictions, you’ll come to realise that college is in some ways a lot like school.

To conclude, I can’t stress just how important self confidence and eagerness is, don’t fear change, evolve with it and open yourself to the opportunities that await you!

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