Why I Started Looking at Colleges Early

Mary Miller, Opinion Writer

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With my Senior year just around the corner, the time has come to start cracking down on college research.

Much of my time has been spent looking through different websites like Niche, making spreadsheets, and looking through different universities websites.

I started looking at colleges really early, like freshman year of high school early.

When I first started looking at colleges, my interests were completely different so the colleges I’m looking at have changed at least three times.

I was primarily looking at performing arts colleges as I wanted to major in music, but now I want to be a journalism major and have begun looking at liberal arts colleges.

The summer of sophomore year I went to my first two college visits at RIT and Ithica, both in upstate New York.

I started taking college more seriously and doing research into acceptance rates, necessary test scores, average GPAs and more.

Part of this was making sure I keep my GPA up in order to ensure that I could get into more competitive colleges, regardless of whatever one I actually end up going to.

Now that I’m a junior, I’ve done a lot more to begin preparing for college.

I have scheduled two more college visits in Chicago, finished my spreadsheet, and have begun narrowing down which colleges offer all of the things I’m looking for in a college.

After spending a lot of time looking through different colleges I’ve prioritized how strong their journalism program is, if they have the minors I’m interested in, the location of the college, and how accepting and accommodating the college is with people of different backgrounds (lgbt+ people, POC, disabled people etc.)

While the whole process is stressful and time-consuming, I am so lucky to have started now instead of having to waste my last high school summer trying to cram all of the preparation I will need to be able to apply for colleges later this November.

Looking at colleges earlier rather than later is going to be beneficial to my senior year self because while junior me wants to cry at the idea of college, senior year me will be set and, hopefully, stress-free.

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