This is the fourth in a six-part series of advice for high-school-aged students about the college search process. Enjoy!
By Hayeon Kayla Lee ’23
I came to Pomona as a Jack Kent Cooke College Scholar and ended up double majoring in English and Politics. I am passionate about equity in education, and I hope to attend graduate school after my years at Pomona to become an English professor. Thinking about college can get overwhelming. As a first-generation student, I understand entirely how different colleges’ information tends to mush into one endless stream of flyers and newsletters. However, in hopes that it might help you, here are some things that helped me prepare for college and my college search process!
- Start communicating with your teachers! It can be intimidating to ask your teachers for help when you need it. However, it is essential to get familiar with your teachers (the earlier, the better) as they will be writing your recommendations. Having two or three teachers who you are close to alleviates stress when you begin to ask for recommendations; you can be sure that they will give you a nice, detailed recommendation the better they know you. (It also prepares you for college. You will find that, many times, you will have to go in to ask questions of your professors during their office hours.)
- Begin to look and apply for different scholarships. Many outside college scholarships begin their application season during junior year of high school. Whether it be QuestBridge, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, or any other scholarships, it is important to do your research and see which scholarships are the right fit for you. In addition, get started on writing those scholarship applications early! Often, once you begin writing college applications, it can be easy to forget about scholarship applications. If you are questioning whether to apply, apply! You lose nothing in applying to scholarship programs.
- Organize a document where you can compile your college research. I made a Google Sheet with all the things that I wanted in my college experience: small school, near or in the city, west coast, etc. Then, as I discovered and researched different colleges, I placed them in my document and checked the different boxes accordingly. Doing this helped me organize all the information I was receiving and later helped me shorten my college list.
Good luck with your college search!