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6 Compelling Questions to Consider Before Applying for College

6 Compelling Questions to Consider Before Applying for College

Is college for you? It depends. Ask yourself these six questions before you even think about applying for college.

1. Am I prepared to commit to a specific field?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

As you start to think about applying for college, you should have a specific idea about what you hope to accomplish in your life. Consider these questions:

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  • How do I hope to add value to the world?
  • What topics or fields captivate my interest?
  • What personal strengths do I have that could be developed at school?
  • Would I like to work in an office, or would I be happier in a position that is more active?

While you can change your course of study as you please, it would be unwise to invest your time and money into a costly education without any comprehension of how it might benefit you.

2. Should I take a year off to reflect on my passion and purpose?

“It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock, and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” -Carl Sandburg

If you don’t have any good answers to the questions posed in point #1, don’t feel bad. High school is a confusing time that presents more questions than answers, and that is why you might want to take a year to reflect before you pursue a college degree. This article has some questions that will help begin your journey of self-exploration that will unlock your potential. Consider keeping a journal or notebook to write down your answers. You also might be helped by the suggested reading list below:

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3. Is college a place that will serve me, or should I try to succeed through self-study?

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” -Salvador Dalí

Many college graduates are struggling to find jobs in our stagnate economy, which makes it tempting to assume pursuing a higher education isn’t worthwhile. In my opinion, the benefit of getting a degree is overstated. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” However, I’m not convinced that most people at the age of 18 have the ambition required to succeed on their own. You’re welcome to test that theory for yourself to prove me wrong, but if you require accountability in the form of classes and assignments, then don’t be afraid to admit it.

4. How can I get the education I need at a cost I can afford?

“You must learn to save first and spend afterwards.” -John Poole

I’m not going to debate the merits of private vs. public, or out-of-state vs. in-state schools in this article, because it is simply foolish to make an investment you cannot afford. If you were an excellent high school student who can get a hefty scholarship, or if you’re lucky enough to have parents who are willing to pay your tuition, then feel free to explore more expensive options. Otherwise, I wouldn’t suggest it, because even the most prestigious degree won’t guarantee a high-paying job in today’s economy. Here is a list of the most affordable colleges with the highest return on investment.

5. What kind of learning environment will be best for my development?

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

Here are a few questions that will help you determine the learning environment that is best for you:

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  • Would you rather go to a college that is driving distance from home, or are you ready for some space?
  • Would you rather listen to a professor in a classroom with students, or learn at your leisure in an online course?
  • Would you rather attend a busy campus where you meet new people every day, or do you prefer a close-knit community?

There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to those questions, but you should definitely know your answers before you apply for college.

6. Can I focus on my studies exclusively, or do I need a side-hustle, too?

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” -Thomas Edison

You need to perform an honest assessment of your financial situation before you decide on how many credit hours to take in a semester. If you have plenty of time to study, then you might be able to handle a full class schedule. If you need a job to cover your tuition, food, and other expenses, then you should probably start slow to avoid getting overwhelmed.

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I hope these questions help you figure out if college is for you. Please share this article with anyone you know who is thinking about applying for college.

Featured photo credit: College Student Studying/Geoff Duncan via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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