It's never too early to get plans started

Visiting the campus is the best way to gauge whether a campus is right for you.
College. The high school student's C-word.
For a high school student, higher education is a vast realm of mystery. There's so much to prepare -- standardized tests, financial aid, admissions applications and essays. It's a lot to accomplish -- and a lot to make sense of.
According to Sue Davis, interim director of undergraduate recruitment and admissions at YSU, it's not a bad idea for students to start thinking about college in their freshman year of high school.
"During their freshman year, students should be thinking of areas of study and career possibilities that interest them, and making sure they schedule the proper classes during their high school careers," Davis said.
Requirements: To attend YSU, prospective students need to have completed four years of English, three of math, two years each of foreign languages, sciences and social sciences and one year of fine and performing arts.
"If a student hasn't taken these courses, they are considered as having a deficiency. They must make these deficiencies up, and they don't apply toward your graduation. Why would you want to have to pay for something when in high school, you can get it for free?" Davis said.
According to, there are numerous steps students should take before they get into the college classroom. As early as their freshman years, students should acquaint themselves with college entrance requirements and start thinking about their reasons for attending college.
Next, recommends that students start comparing prospective colleges in their junior years. They should then start taking college entrance exams, such as the ACT and the SAT.
Davis recommended that students take the SAT and ACT at least twice. "These tests are not intelligence tests; they test what you know. There is almost always test anxiety the first time a student takes these tests. If they take them more than once, the scores are more indicative of what the students know."
Checking it out: Then, Davis said, students should schedule campus visits to schools they are interested in. "You can't tell everything about a school from the pretty viewbook they send you," she said. "The only way to see if you fit in and feel comfortable at a school is to visit the campus."
After the campus visits have been made, applications have been filled out and the students have been accepted, it's time to apply for financial aid.
"Don't ever wait until two weeks before classes start to apply for financial aid!" Davis said. "It sometimes takes four to six weeks for the application materials to process. And be sure to respect deadlines."

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