High school students (and your parents), we know you are in the midst of waiting to receive the admission decisions from the institutions to which you applied, and we know the wait seems really long. We empathize with you! To speed-up this wait, we suggest you conduct deeper research on these colleges. (However, if your FAFSA has not been submitted yet – make that your first priority!)
A few of the things we recommend you research are…
1. Majors: at each college, select at least five majors you are interested in. You probably already put down a major of interest on the application, but more than 50% of students change their major at least once, so look at ALL your options right now! Knowing there is more than one major you’re interested in is important. A good place to find your options is in the course catalog.
2. Major Impaction: can you get into the major(s) you’re interested by submitting a form, or are you going to need to complete prerequisite courses and meet a GPA minimum? Major impaction is becoming increasingly common at state universities, and can often cause students 1-2 additional years in college in order to complete the major. Research this information on the website of the specific major department.
3. Campus exams: many campuses have their own eligibility exams, no matter how high a score was earned on an ACT, SAT, AP or IB exam. Our campus requires campus-specific exams for Statistics, Calculus and Chemistry. If any of those courses are required in the major, the student must take the appropriate campus-specific exam. At our institution, these exams are given at orientation. Students who were highly successful in those courses during high school often struggle with these exams for two reasons. First, the students do not realize they will be needing to take a campus-specific exam, and therefore have not reviewed any materials related to the subject. Second, the exams are given on the second day of orientation at 7:30am. This is after many students have been up half the night making new friends = horrible timing!
4. Orientation: the cost and anticipated dates. Attending orientation is extremely important; you do not want to be caught off-guard by the registration fee and the dates you need to attend. Your other summer activities should be planned around attending on-campus orientation. An option to do online orientation will never compare to the on-campus experience; the memories will last a lifetime!
Enjoy your research – not only is it very useful information, it’s great preparation for all the research you’re going to do in college!!