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This article will attempt to help high school students who have general questions about college and the transition that they will be making from living at home into their new college environment.

1. Choosing Where to Apply

When you are looking at schools and trying to figure out where to apply, the most important things to remember is to be honest with yourself. This is a big decision and will effect the rest of your life so you must make an effort to pry deep into your brain and ask yourself what you want and don’t want.

If you make a list and answer smaller questions about what you are looking for, you might be able to put together a formula for the school you want rather than just picking it from a mix of other schools. For example, make a list with the following questions: Do I want a big school or a small school? Do I want a co-ed school? Do I want a school with general expertise or specialized expertise? The list goes on and on. Once you answer these questions, you can put together a profile of the school that you are looking for.

Try to remember that this decision is yours and directly effects your life. Do not let others pressure you into schools that you know you could not stand. After all, you are going to spend 4 years at this place, not them. Your happiness is the number one concern.

2. Applications

When filling out applications to college, also remember to be as honest as possible. There is no need to stretch your experiences thin and present yourself as an over-achiever. A smart admissions officer will be able to see right through an application without honesty. In my experience, Admissions officers actually prefer students who are straightforward and down to earth. They want real people with real, honest ideas.

Second, you may feel like you want to be extra conservative when writing applications, but I would consider going out on a limb and experimenting with ideas you may have. Colleges like to see creativity, spark, and a desire to push boundaries. If you can write something that is honest, creative, and revealing of your true nature, no matter how personal, you will be able to win over the likes of the Admissions Officer at your school of choice.

3. Packing and Moving Out

Try to bring less than you think you need. When you are leaving home it is understandable to not want to leave things that you know and love behind. Your possessions are all you have when you get to school for the first time. But, I would encourage you to try to separate yourself from your trivial items. You will be able to get anything you need at school and you will be surprised at how fast you acquire new things once you get there.

Another important thing to remember about the whole moving process is that it may be extra-stressful because of separation anxiety both on the part of you and your parents. Try to remember that sending a kid off to college is a scary thing for parents to do as well. Be patient, and try to reassure them that you are o.k.

4. What to Expect

College will open your mind, whether to books, academics, or to the new found freedom you have over your life. You can stay up all night, every night if you want, eat whatever you want. Whatever you want. There is no one watching you. This can be liberating and incredibly scary at the same time. It is a time for you to step up to the plate and show that you are an adult, a responsible person who can take care of him/herself. Sure, you may make mistakes, but the responsibility is on you to act as a contributor.

Last of all, have fun!!! College is a time to be self-indulgent. Meet exciting people, laugh, learn, be safe, and open your mind to the world.