Daunting College Choices Approach Juniors

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By Morgan Jackson – Terrier Times Editor – Vinton, Va.-

As senior year quickly approaches for the class of 2013, the choice of where to spend their college years has become more daunting than ever.

“Students should start looking at colleges at the beginning of their junior year,” said career center Manager Stephen Graves. “That’s when you should start plotting the course for the rest of your life.”

Some suggest looking at colleges earlier in high school in order for students to set personal goals.

“You should really start looking at colleges your freshman and sophomore year that way you know what grades you need to strive for in order to stay on track and get into the college you want,” said Guidance Counselor Hayley Poland.

Here at William Byrd High School students have the opportunity to learn about several local colleges without ever leaving the building.

“When colleges visit you should check out as many as possible,” Graves said. “If you want to stay local then listen to the schools that come and what they have to offer. Prepare questions that are important to you such as curriculum. 

Talking to college representatives is great, but the best way to learn about a college is through touring the campus.

“Make sure you visit, take a tour and ask questions,” Poland said. “Once you step on the campus you’ll know.”

But what if you simply can’t choose between some great schools?

“If you can’t decide then go with the Ben Franklin close, make a pros and cons list,” Graves said. “It puts your decision in realistic view and allows you to weigh out the goods and the bads. In the end, just go with your heart.”

What about the constant debate over in-state versus out-of-state college?

“Just go with your dreams,” Graves said. “Going away to college gives autonomy, while staying at home saves money, but it delays the inevitable. College is meant to prepare you for the real world.”

However, students have many parts of their education to keep in check in order to make sure that they have the opportunity to choose between several colleges.

“Colleges need the whole package,” Poland said. “They look at grades, SAT and ACT scores, strength of schedule, extracurriculars, and volunteer hours.”

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