Planning for College
Planning for college can be a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Our goal is to make this process as stress-free as possible. Below, you'll find some tips to help you start planning for college as early as your freshman year.
Parents, we have also curated a handful of our favorite planning resources for you that are organized by high school year.
This may be hard to believe, but the foundation you build during your freshman year will carry momentum into your next three years of high school.
At this point, you’re not expected to know exactly what you want to do after high school, but no matter which path you choose, there are some things you can do this year to help create some momentum.
High school is the perfect time to be a part of different activities and groups, whether it’s sports, band, theater, student clubs, or a combination of each! Keep in mind many universities will have scholarships available for those types of activities.
If you’re able, try to take some Dual Credit or AP classes during high school. Yes, they’ll be more demanding than your other classes, but they will look good on your college application and help boost your GPA while lowering the amount of classes you’ll need to take in college.
Go To Summer Camp
Take a look at what’s available in your area for academic summer camps. Through these camps, you’ll be keeping your brain active and you’ll have more opportunities to find what you’re passionate about.
Get The Wheels Turning
As you start thinking about whether college will be the right fit for you, here are some questions to put in the back of your mind and start giving some thought to about your ideal experience:
- Do I want to stay close to home or branch out?
- Would I like a smaller school or a larger school?
- Will I want to do any activities like sports, band or theater in college?
- What type of job would I enjoy doing?
Try Different Extracurriculars
High school is the perfect time to be a part of different activities and groups, whether it’s sports, band, theater, student clubs or a combination of each! Try some different ones to help find your passions. Many universities will have scholarships available for students who want to participate in those activities at the next level.
Take Dual Credit, AP And Foreign Language Classes
If you’re able, try to take some Dual Credit or AP classes during high school. They’ll challenge you and also look good on your college application. Taking foreign language classes in high school will also help you stand out because most universities look for students to have at least two years of a foreign language.
Start Prepping For The ACT/SAT
Your ACT/SAT scores will be a factor in your application process. Some universities will have minimums in place and they will also use your scores to determine what type of scholarships will be available for you. There are many free resources out there that will send you sample questions and help you prepare. Remember, you can always retake these tests.
Go On Campus Visits
You might have given some thought to what kind of campus will support you the best. A good way to find out for sure is to visit some of the colleges in your area, even if you're not sure you'll end up there or not. That way you can get a feel for the different type of campus atmospheres and that information will help you make your decision later on in the process.
Going into your third year of high school, you may have started thinking about the type of college environment that will suit you the best. When you visit Concordia Nebraska, you’ll experience our Christ-centered community, where you’ll be supported by your peers and your professors.
Scholarships Are Available
There are numerous scholarships and grants available to help lessen the financial burden of going to college. Many private universities offer generous scholarship packages, and it’s typically easier to find scholarships for art, music, speech, sports and more. Each of our students receives an average of $23,930 in annual financial aid and scholarships. There are also state and federal need-based grants, as well as private scholarships you can apply for. You can find helpful scholarship resources at cune.edu/scholarships.
Junior year is typically the most challenging of your high school career. You’ll be caught up in you school work, activities and spending time with your friends. Here are some things you can do this year to help you stay on track.
- Take personalized visits to colleges with different types of environments
- Search around for your preferred program, ask about scholarships and GPA/test score requirements
- Take the ACT or SAT at least once
- Start looking for private scholarships and learn what their requirements are
- Line up a job for the summer to help save some extra money
- Determine your top three or four schools and apply to them in the summer before your senior year. Once you do, they’ll be able to provide financial aid information to help you start planning.
Going into your senior year, maybe you've already applied to a handful of colleges over the summer, or maybe you're still trying to find a college that is the best fit for you. If you've already applied to some schools, great! If you haven't, you still have time to take some college visits and select the school that is going to give you the best opportunity to succeed.
Submit Your FAFSA After Oct. 1
Submitting your FAFSA application is a crucial step in applying to college. The FAFSA will determine your financial aid offers at each of the schools you apply to. As a senior, you're able to submit your FAFSA after Oct. 1, and it's a good idea to get that step done as quickly as possible. Then, when you apply to your top three or four schools, they'll have this information and they'll be able to provide you a clear financial aid offer.
Take The Time To Apply
If you have narrowed down your list to your top three or four schools, go ahead and apply to each of them. Once you apply, each school will be able to provide your financial aid offers so you can have the most information possible as you make your decision.
Search For Scholarships
There's a good chance you'll receive a financial aid offer from each of the schools you apply to. In addition to the institutional aid offered, there are numerous scholarships available from community, state and national organizations. Sometimes, businesses will provide scholarships to students who have selected a specific major.
Net Price Calculator
With our Net Price Calculator, you can calculate your estimated costs to attend Concordia and see for yourself how a private, Christ-centered education can be within reach.