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Top 10 Things High Schoolers Should Do to Get Ready for College

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Happy New Year! Time for new beginnings, new hope and, sure, even some new worries. But getting ready for college doesn’t have to be one.

There’s tons of resources out there to help map out the journey. As with any monumental journey, the best bet is to bite it off in short increments and start early.

Here are ten tips to make your transition to college easier.

1. Make a calendar

Goals are easier if they are visualized. Get a giant desk calendar and some fancy pens and highlighters. Stick it on your wall and mark it up with dates for specific tasks like taking the SAT.

2. Practice, practice, practice

Register for the preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The tests are usually given in October, help you prepare and can be used to enter into scholarship competitions. Best of all: They can be taken in a classroom.

3. Make a list. Check it twice

Write down a list of 10-20 schools to investigate – we think these 15 outstanding independent colleges and universities in Michigan should be on the list. Separate them into categories: Top choices, tier twos and fallbacks. Dream big. Do your research. Talk to counselors and teachers.

4. Research Scholarships

Tons of money is available. Millions of dollars go unclaimed each year. Get your money’s worth from the guidance counselor, do your research and start prioritizing. We really like this one.

5. Letters of recommendation

Most wait until the last minute. Don’t be that guy. Ask early.

6. Campus visits

Colleges offer open houses and campus tours all year long. Don’t wait to schedule one (or three). Absorb the tours but wander off the beaten path. Talk to students in the bookstore. Go to a coffee shop.

Is this a place you can picture yourself? So much of campus tours are about feel but it can be an overwhelming process. There’s a lot to absorb. Take lots of notes and snapshots to refresh your memory in a few months.

7. The nitty gritty

Fall of senior year is typically when the search hits high gear: Taking or retaking SATs or ACTs, writing and perfecting admissions essays, scheduling interviews, exploring costs and financial aid and completing the free application for federal student aid.

Phew. Take a breath. It’s going to be OK.

8. Enter to win the easiest scholarship contest on the planet

Top off your college fund by entering the We Are The Independents monthly scholarship drawing from the Michigan Colleges Alliance. You could win $2K in 2 minutes.

9. Make a call

Decisions, decisions. At some point, fate is out of your hands. It can be an anxious time. But if you’ve done everything on the list, take a bow. Even if you haven’t but have met all the deadlines, take a bow. There’s nothing you can do about it now but wait.

10. Don’t forget to enjoy your senior year
This will be one of the best years of your life. Don’t squander a single second.
And take it from us: Things are going to be OK and work themselves out. They usually do. There’s so much pressure in college admissions, it’s easy to lose perspective. This is about what is best for you and what college can help you get where you want to be.

We understand that at Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

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It’s Not too Late to Attend Top Michigan Colleges THIS Fall

Graduates

Shot of a diverse group of students on graduation day

It’s that heady time of year again. Graduation season. Time for caps, gowns and a whole lot of excitement.

And maybe just a smidgen of anxiety too — especially for those receiving diplomas who still aren’t sure what comes next.

First, take a deep breath. Then realize: It’s still not too late to attend college in the fall, especially since many of Michigan’s 15 top independent colleges and universities offer rolling or late admissions.

Rules vary by college. But typically, rolling admissions discard traditional application deadlines. Instead, students are accepted until class sizes are met for the following term. That often means that it’s not too late, even in June, to attend one of the finest colleges in the Midwest.

Aquinas College, Albion College, Alma College, Calvin College and Hope College all officially offer rolling admissions, while most other colleges accept late applications. And with firmer deadlines — such as Hillsdale College — still take applications for future semesters, giving students breathing room to chart their next chapter.

Best of all, applying online is free.

Get started by following the links above for those colleges, as well as Marygrove College, Madonna University, Adrian College, Olivet College, Andrews University, Kalamazoo College, Siena Heights University, Spring Arbor University and University of Detroit Mercy.

Like all admissions, there’s no guarantees. But the truth is it’s almost never too late to attend the college of your dreams. Worst case, it may take a little longer. Best case, the world is your oyster.

That’s because Michigan’s 14 independent colleges and universities pride themselves on accepting students who purposefully chart their own path.

National leaders in education, the independents boast graduation and employment rates that often exceed big public schools. Classes are taught by award-winning faculty who are experts in their field. Because class sizes are so low, professors form tight bonds with students and help chart their paths.

Committed to community, the colleges have deep networks of business executives and alumni who mentor students.

Often less expensive than public schools, the independents offer a truly unique and affordable experience that simply doesn’t exist at big state schools.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.


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