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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

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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