Understanding the importance of the college process; how to thrive
The college decision is one of the most important decisions people have throughout their whole life. College is another four or more years of a person’s life figuring out more about themselves.
During high school standardized tests like ACT and SAT, your grade point average (GPA), extracurricular activities and many more things help students get into their dream colleges, but which is the most important?
What helps the most to get into college
Student Counselor Kristin Overton believes that the order of importance would be GPA, test scores then extracurricular activities and colleges would view it the same way.
“As far as GPA is concerned I think as long as students are taking challenging coursework that is appropriately challenging for them that is the most important thing,” said Overton. “Students should take classes that are challenging for them that they also enjoy.”
Minnehaha alum Simon Huyck (‘17), currently a freshman at Academy College in Bloomington, Minnesota, believes the most important thing that students can do in high school is to develop good study habits.
“You definitely want a good ACT or SAT score and you want a good GPA, but you can’t waste your time stressing so much about it because college is nothing like high school,” said Huyck.
“You’re going to need to put in the work if you want to get good grades in college. Once you’re in college they don’t care what you get on the ACT or what your GPA was. You have to have study habits in order to be successful in the class.”
Good study habits don’t have the greatest effect on the students’ chances of getting into the college they want to get into.
“For me too, one of the more important things was my college essay and letters of recommendation,” emphasized Huyck. “I think even as early as sophomore year, it is important to attend the college fairs to start looking for the college you want to attend someday.”
Senior Carter Bell is finishing up his final year at Minnehaha and has decided to attend the University of Wake Forest where he hopes to pursue Biology or the sciences.
“Throughout high school the best thing I did to set me up to go to Wake Forest was get good grades which is very important, but I think extracurriculars really put you above other kids who are trying to get into the same college as you,” Bell said.
He started to think about what college he wanted to go to around the middle of his junior year. “When I went on my college visits I mainly looked at academics, social life, and size of the school,” Bell said.
Sophomore Pearl Fallin seems to agree with the statement that Bell made.
“I think that the most important thing you can do is try your best in high school regardless of whether or not you get the perfect grades and take part in multiple extracurriculars outside of school,” she said.
Minnehaha alum Luke Mahler (‘17), currently attending the University of Minnesota believes the best way a student can set themselves up for success is to ensure a strong GPA and ACT score.
Mahler started thinking about college spring of junior year but didn’t visit any until fall.
“I didn’t choose the U of M because of size,” he said. “I went to the best education for the best price I was admitted to.” Mahler is currently undecided in a major at the University of Minnesota.
Minnehaha Alum Kenny Kiratli (‘17), currently attending Northwestern University believes that doing something you enjoy is key,
Why people transfer
Huyck has transferred from the University of Minnesota to Academy College at the end of December and he is enjoying it much more.
“I’m not in a traditional program pursuing my aviation major at Academy College but I’m much happier than I was at the University of Minnesota because of its size,” Huyck said.
New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show that 37.2 percent of college students transfer at least once within six years.
According to the Transparent Career Blog the top five reasons for students transferring include, homesickness, cost, the academics, school offerings, and poor social scene.
“I think the biggest thing is, if you aren’t for sure what you want to major in make sure you go to a school that has a couple of the things you may be interested in so you wouldn’t have to transfer out because they don’t have what you want to study,” said Overton.
“Financially sit down with mom and dad and have an honest conversation about how are we affording this, who is paying for it, what is that going to look like and meet with the financial aid counselor at the college to make sure it is doable.”
How to pick a major
Students don’t always decide what they are going to major in before attending college.
“I think it’s completely fine deciding your major along the way. Most of the people I knew didn’t know what they were going to do,” Huyck said.
“Some of them declared a major but they didn’t know what career field they wanted to go into either. But for me that approach didn’t work. I was more of a goal driven person and I want to be in a situation where I know what I’m working for.”
Minnehaha alum Elliot Dorow Hovland (‘17), currently attending the University of California, Berkeley, said,
“I had a pretty easy time picking my major because its always been something I wanted to do. I think for a lot of people it can be harder. If you don’t know what you want to do yet, don’t worry about it because once you get to college you’ll realize how many people don’t know what they want to do yet.”
High school is tough for many people and comes easy to others. But students have to make the best of it because college comes at them quicker than they think. High school is getting students prepared for the challenges to come later on.