College Checklist

A College Planning Guide Part-2

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Continuing from our earlier post, we look at some of the other factors that make transition from high-school to college beneficial and easy for the young aspirants.

Enhance your profile

Colleges are more likely to look for a student who has strengths beyond the academics. An all-rounder will always have an edge in comparison to their academically oriented counterparts. Strengthen the talents that you already have, whether it is playing an instrument like the guitar or drums, pursuing football as a hobby or even cooking in your free time. Every certificate or news of these co- or extra-curricular activities you mention can be very helpful in getting you those extra points why applying for a college/university, especially if you are applying abroad.

Colleges appreciate innovative and passionate students, so try to convince them you are motivated to achieve your dreams and targets. You can use the summer break after your Grade 10 exams as the ideal time to pursue your field of interest – for instance, if you want to be a teacher, teach young children, who cannot afford to go to school, in your locality. This will give you a valuable experience of teaching as well as become a brownie point in your résumé. If you aspire to be an architect, brush up your artwork, make sample drawings, and get them evaluated from professionals.

Shortlist Your Preferred Colleges

You should shortlist the colleges you want to apply to well in advance by the end of 11thgrade. There are innumerable ‘matchmaking’ websites for colleges, such as Global Educates, that help you in finding a college based on various criteria like – your financial status and location preferences. You can do some online research on these colleges, send enquiries, and talk to former students to see if these colleges meet your requirements.

Application Process

The application process can be very taxing on the student but an important process nevertheless.

 Tips for Filling an Application Form:

  • Be original, formal, and polite and stick to the character or word limit.
  • List your recent achievements, starting with the most recent.
  • If asked for a ‘personal statement’, use it to tell the college why YOU are the one they need to choose among all applicants. Show how you fit into the college culture and its requirements.
  • Read all the sections of an application form thoroughly and understand what information is needed.

Prepare for the Change

 Although admission in a college of your choice can be quite thrilling, the fun and the hard work are just the beginning. The academic life in a college is quite different from the one you might have witnessed until now. It is true that college is a time for having fun and widening your social circle but for the serious achiever, it is also a time to excel in their field. In the midst of all the socio-cultural activities, do not forget that college is also a place to learn new things and build on your concepts. In most colleges, the lecturer or professor will not make you stand outside the classroom for incomplete assignments and bad behavior; rather they will be friendlier than those who taught you in school. Essentially, this means that you are responsible for your own academic results.


Getting the most out of College

 YES, college is so much more than just academics – cultural events, student club activities, and parties. The best way to increase your social circle is through participation in everything that college has to offer, while balancing out your work load. You will never again have the same opportunities offered in college at any point in life. You will be in a position of enviable stability, once you have checked all the boxes in this checklist. Enjoy this phase of your life, as you will never be as carefree again.

College Checklist

Student Checklist – A College Planning Guide

Campus Life for college bound students

Life after high school is strange, you no longer smile indulgently and say “I want to be a ‘doctor’, a ‘lawyer’, or an ‘engineer’”, because now, the questions are more specific (and uncomfortable too, if you are on a lookout for a college): “What stream are you going to take up?” or “Which colleges have you applied to?” or “Are you preparing for any competitive exams?’ or “What is your college plan?” Your answers are scrutinized more seriously; so maybe it’s time for you to be serious about your future too!

However, don’t get too bogged down by the prospect of joining a college. Trust me when I say this – by the time you finish your first year, college will form an integral part of your life; one without which you cannot envisage yourself. College plays a significant role in shaping the growth of an individual. Apart from the course certification, it is the place where an individual embarks on his journey from teenage years to adulthood. The experiences, which one gains during this period are important as well as instrumental. However, for most high-school students, college is like an abyss. They aren’t sure about what to expect and thus look towards college with skepticism. Therefore, here is a checklist for each high-school students which they can use to evaluate their undergraduate options.

College Planning Guide:

Choose your course well

In India, students have to choose their course in class tenth itself, as after grade tenth students study specialized subjects related to their stream. You will be choosing from the streams like – commerce, humanities, or science – based on your interests and preferences. The lack of flexibility in Indian colleges, forces you to pursue what you studied in grades 11 and 12 – for instance, if you choose to take up humanities after grade 10th, dropping science, it becomes almost impossible to take an engineering or science course later in college/university. It is advised that if you are torn up between options, pick the Science stream as it will give you the freedom to switch to Humanities or Commerce later; it is impossible to do the other way around if you change your mind.

 

Take professional help

This period, understandably, can be a time of uncertainty. Take help from an education counselor who can analyze your aptitude and preferences and help you make a choice. An education counselor assesses the students by testing their aptitude, intelligence, and personality quotients, which help a counselor to evaluate the student’s potential and assess their verbal and numerical reasoning skills. The students can also meet with experts from their chosen field to ask for help and guidance in this crucial period.

Do your initial research

An initial research is always beneficial, once you have chosen a stream to pursue in college/university. Many ‘professional’ or ‘vocational’ courses have very limited seats; hence, you can only get admission in a college or a university after clearing a competitive exam. You must be aware of many important facts – such as the dates of these exams, the registration process, fees, and the minimum marks required to clear such exams. A candidate who will be well prepared for the exam will have better odds of getting selected in a course of his/her choice.


These three steps, if followed, can go a long way in shaping your overall performance and can lead to a very conducive period in college. Please click here to read PART-2.

High School Vs College

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Seriously, forget everything you know. Making the transition from school to college is one of the biggest, nerve-wrecking transformations a student has to face.  It is, in many ways, the end of things they hold dear and the beginning of the growth that marks these students as adults in the end. However, while gearing up for college, most students see this phase merely as an extension of their high school years, expecting similar experiences with the kinds of people they’ve interacted with their whole lives.

So, here is a list of all the things that are going to change once you step through those huge gates and gaze at your schedule for the first time.

 

Your social clique doesn’t exist anymore.

While this may be the most obvious change to strike anyone, its true repercussions run a little deeper than just hanging out with people you haven’t know all your life. The biggest change here comes in the form of meeting new types of people and, as a result, possibly being friends with people you probably would’ve overlooked in high school. One of the greatest plus points of this is that you are more likely to learn more about people around you and yourself, which will be quite instrumental in shaping your perspective. With the budding curiosity that comes with meeting new people, you will also start exploring more creative and intellectual outlets than you did in school. So, don’t be surprised when you run into the math whiz from school who can suddenly rock the bass guitar.

 

Self-expression and identity become pivotal issues.

Now that you’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool without a life jacket, you’re going want to learn a few skills to stay afloat. One of the first things that you’ll notice is that no one actually cares about who you were in school. Now, pause and let that sink in. For those of you who have had a less-than-fortunate high school experience, this is a great chance for reinvention. Of course the idea behind this isn’t to change who you are but to give yourself a chance to be the version of yourself that you’ve always been too shy or too repressed to be. The same goes for people who don’t feel the need for a second chance. No one actually knows the right way to interpret your humor or mood swings or how well you can draw. This is great for you because, let’s face it, while you were surrounded by everyone who knew you since nursery, how much did you have to prove, anyway? Expression leads to better communication, which is a skill that comes in handy no matter what sphere you’re planning to work in.

 

Best teachers don’t give you notes.

This may sound like a dream but there’s a catch – the best teachers don’t give you notes, they talk. Teachers who can teach from experience are the ones you’re going to learn from the most. On the other hand, teachers who throw highlighted notes and excerpts in your face usually don’t have much of an opinion on the subject. Another major change in college is that your teachers will behave a little less like authority figures and a little more like people who are willing to guide you if you need the guidance. Teachers in college are more open to discussions outside the classroom, whether you’re looking for advice on the subject they teach or just want to discuss the latest dystopian universe trilogy out there in the market.

 

Your opinion counts more than the facts.

Well, to be honest, this really depends on what you’re studying but in most cases, teachers don’t really want to know how well you can memorize and recite a textbook without glancing down. They’re more interested in the perspective you’re willing to bring to the classroom and whether you can stand up for your opinion. When you go to college, you’re going to notice that your grades are split up into your tests, exams, projects and participation and while the last is given a lesser percentage in terms of relevance to your final grade (it’s usually around 10-15%), it happens to be one of the most important ways to show you’re learning something in the classroom. The best part about opinionated answers is that there isn’t any right or wrong answer because, as it suggests, it’s your opinion. So, don’t be shy to raise your hand and tell your teacher why you think an idea is wrong.

 

Extra-curricular activities teach you the most.

Here’s one of the best things about college – your extra-curricular activities count. At the end of three years (or four, depending on the college you’re attending), you’ll be surprised when you realize that you’ve picked up managerial skills from the time you directed the annual play, have learnt how to communicate ideas more effectively during your stint in the debate club, have a better understanding of organizational behavior because you joined the student union, are more honest after that long lecture on plagiarism and are more self assured and confident because of all the time you’ve spent meeting deadlines. So, at the end of the day, if you go to your college of choice with an openness towards new experiences and a positive attitude, your college years could very well be the best of your life. However, if you’re expecting your college scene to be exactly like high school, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening.