Sit down with family and discuss family finances. How much are your parents or guardians willing and able to contribute to your education? How much will you be expected to contribute?
Think about your “end goal.” Where do you want to be in 5 years? The answer should be employed or entering an advanced degree program, if you are considering college. Do you have a career in mind? If so, how does a person get the certification necessary for that degree? If you are among the “undecided,” consider schools that offer a range of programs.
Research schools: Keep your budget, your level of academic ability, and your “end goal” in mind.
For budgeting, we find http://collegecalc.org/ to be a very useful resource. You can see what the bottom line cost is for each school.
While researching schools, also research the scholarship opportunities available to you through the school. Are there automatic merit scholarships? At what point in the year do you need to apply in order to be considered for automatic scholarships?
Consider the programs available at the school. Are credits transferrable? If your chosen career has a graduate program as a requirement, does your undergrad school choice have a program that will increase your chances of getting into the graduate program of your choice? Example: Student wants to be a Veterinarian in Ohio. The ONLY Veterinary Doctorate program in the state of Ohio is at Ohio State University, and it is very competitive. The student needs to find an undergraduate program that is recognized by Ohio State as a superior program in order to give them an advantage.
Consider your academic record. What does the average student profile look like for students who are accepted into the school? (Range of ACT/SAT scores, Grades, Academic Standing) If you KNOW that you want to attend a certain school and it fits your other requirements, but you are just below their requirements for admission, consider applying by the early binding decision date, and know that you may have to work a little harder than your peers if you are accepted.
Take the ACT and/or SAT.
Fill out the FAFSA with your parents.
NOW consider applying for Middletown Community Foundation Scholarships.