When you’re in the middle of high school life, the last thing you may want to think about is college, but high school passes quickly and that next step is coming sooner than you think. To set yourself up for a brilliant future that you’re going to love, you should start your college search during your junior year. With the right mindset, this process can even be fun!
How to start your college search
There are so many choices for college because there are so many careers to explore. Start exploring the colleges that have the things you’re most interested in:
- Areas of study
- Geographic location
- Financial investment
- Athletic opportunities
We cover the next steps and planning your college visits in more detail here.
Tap your resources
Another way to start your college search in your junior year is to talk to the people who are doing what you’re interested in doing. Where did they go to school? What was their career path? What steps have they taken, what have they learned, and would they have done anything differently?
Talk to a mentor and listen to their recommendations. (If you don’t have a mentor, contact us. We can help!) They’ll ask questions and provide feedback that suits your learning style, your personality, and your interests. In other words, they’ll provide unique advice just for you.
Talk to your career counselor at school. They often have access to resources and opportunities that can help you as you pursue the future that’s right for you.
Talk to family, friends, and loved ones. While they may not have access to the latest and greatest tools and research, they know you better than anyone else. Ask them what qualities they see in you and where those might best serve you in the future.
Confront your fears
Making a career choice in Highschool may feel overwhelming. And the voices in your head may slow you down. They whisper things like you’re not:
- good enough
- smart enough
- wealthy enough
- athletic enough
Don’t let these negative thoughts get the best of you! Your attitude matters more than you think. With hard work, determination, and a strong support system, you can get farther than you can even imagine right now. Turn those thoughts on their head and confront them with these instead:
- I can do whatever I focus my mind on.
- I follow my dreams no matter what.
- All my problems have solutions.
- My ability to learn is improving every day.
- It’s okay to ask for help.
- I love accomplishing my goals.
- Every day, I strive to do my best.
- I am in control of my progress.
The biggest challenges you face will probably be the ones in your mind. The belief that you can change and grow your intelligence is called “growth mindset.” Students with this growth mindset score significantly higher on all subjects — 31.5 points in reading, 27 points in science, and 23 points in math — compared with students who believed their intelligence was fixed.
Keep learning, keep exploring, and believe in your future. It makes a difference!