Not Just Getting In, But Getting Out                          by Patti Brugman

            By Patti Brugman

As you get ready to apply to college, assess your own readiness for all that it takes to succeed. Readiness is essential for success through the rigors of academics and life on your own.

         If you’re not ready (yet), you might find yourself unable to finish at the college where you start.  Coming home after a semester or a year, for any reason, is a big deal. With a national graduation rate of only 50% (many of them at community colleges and commuter schools), these are concerns to take very seriously before applying anywhere.

         Here’s a list of some factors that assess student readiness:

1.    Intellectually Curious:  We often ask our students, “Why do you want to go to college?” Right answers can vary, but they should have something to do with wanting to learn.  The best students are driven to learn or at least have something that they want to study.  In some cases, if students couldn’t go to college, they would teach themselves!

2.    Socially ready: Do you have friends right now? Are they the kinds of friends who help you succeed? Will you join a club or get a job on campus? These are signs of your social readiness, which is essential to fighting loneliness and homesickness.

3.    Independent:  Can you take care of yourself?  College is where you have to get yourself up in the morning, wear clean clothes, eat, and get to class on time.  If you are having serious issues at home now (and your mother has to raise her voice on occasion), see if you can fix those issues before it’s too late!

4.    Handling Stress:  Students who become easily frazzled, have trouble getting started on their work, or slip into an “I don’t care” attitude, may need a little pep talk or even some counseling. You should feel confident that you are academically prepared for college so that bad study habits don’t take over. Choosing the right college for your personality will also help calm this stress.

5.    Resilient:  Things are going to happen in college that are beyond a your control.  Can you recover from a missed assignment, a difficult roommate, or even a bout of gloomy weather?  Can you go with the flow and always steer toward success?  This is a good time to rate your easy-going nature and figure out if this is an area to work on.

6.    Self-Aware:  Are you aware of your own strengths and weaknesses? Do you have hobbies or areas of expertise to help you feel confident?  Make a list of all your strengths.

7.    Financially Ready: Can your family support the cost of college? (Do they have the energy to apply for financial aid?) Do you have realistic expectations about money? If you have had a job, how did you spend your money (or save it)? If you are applying for financial aid, are you planning to be involved in the process? An education is valued more if you know what it really costs and are even willing to take on some of the debt (if necessary).

With these questions addressed and answered, you and your family will feel more confident as you proceed through the next few months of the college application process. If you have any doubts, consider the wonders of a Gap Year.  (More on that in another blog.)

--All the best from PerfectFitCollege.Net  9/12