Home > Resources > Campus Life > Balancing Work & College > Working Your Way Through College

Working Your Way Through College

Attending college is a full-time job. You will have to work hard, (some of) you will play hard and all of you will sleep little. But before these years of independence come a few of preparation, and taking advantage of them can make attending college much easier. Between college research, school visits, standardized tests and financial aid research, the last two years of high school will go by in a flash. Use this time wisely, and you can avoid a whirlwind of responsibilities and missed opportunities. Before attending college, remember to prepare for the following:

The College Search

You will be spending the next few years of your life in college, so choose wisely. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out that the school you had hoped to attend just decided to tack on a new, exorbitant busing fee, or that it doesn’t offer your major of interest. Begin your college search process during the junior year, and follow up during the following fall semester. Visit schools, and consider academics, size, location, recreational opportunities and price before selecting and attending college.

The Applications

College applications deserve your fullest attention. Survey application requirements at your schools of interest during the spring semester of junior year, and be prepared to meet them well before deadlines approach. Admissions offices can be a mess during the final days of submission. To avoid lost papers and late (a.k.a. automatically disqualified) information, send materials at least one month before they are due. You should also use this time to seek out instructors who know you well and who are willing to write a recommendation for you. Last but not least, remember to visit your college advisor, and make sure that all credit requirements will be met before applying for and attending college.

The Standardized Tests

The drudgery of standardized test preparation is unavoidable. Whether you like it or not, most colleges will place some weight on your standardized test scores. Before taking your exams, borrow an ACT or SAT workbook from the library, or, if you choose to do so, take a standardized test prep class. Take your exam during the spring semester of your junior year. That way, you will have another chance to touch up less-than-perfect scores before applications are due. Attending college is a big deal; prepare accordingly.

The Financial Aid

One of the most overlooked parts of attending college, financial aid is vital to those who need assistance affording a college education. Before taking out thousands in loans, students should submit a FAFSA (applications may be found at FAFSA.ed.gov), complete a free college scholarship search, and visit a school financial aid office to find out about college-based assistance.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Scholarship Deadlines Extended Due to COVID-19

April 2, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Just as schools have closed their doors due to coronavirus, charities and non-profit organizations have had to shutter down. While they might suspend board meetings, community fundraisers or award ceremonies, chances are they haven't shut down their scholarship offerings - in fact, many non-profits have extended their scholarship application windows from mid- or late March into April, May or even June. If you've been applying for scholarships this spring and missed out on some March or early April deadlines, check your account - you may find that some scholarships have had their due dates pushed back, giving you more time to submit an application. [...]

Coronavirus News Update for Students, Families, Colleges

March 31, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

From student loans to college athletics, Scholarships.com is keeping you updated on all of the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on high school and higher education. If you're tired of reading about COVID-19, take a break by checking out your latest scholarship matches and earning money for college here. [...]

Coronavirus Impact on SAT, ACT, and AP Testing

March 26, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

As a high school student in the midst of the standardized testing season and living through the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering what the future holds for standardized test scores, AP courses, and the college admissions process. A recent survey conducted by The College Board revealed than 91 percent of 18,000 polled enrollees still want to take their AP tests. In fact, in 900 pages of comments responding to the AP survey, AP students "begged to be allowed at least one championship bout with an AP test." [...]