Career and Job Search Guide

Be Prepared: Get A College Degree

For high school students. If you are a sophomore or junior, you have likely begun your search for the right college. Steps 1 and 2 below can help you narrow the colleges that interest you. After you have identified some colleges, visit the campuses (step 3). Have a few backup colleges since you might not be accepted to your first choice.

For nontraditional students. As soon as you have decided to return to school, check out steps 1 and 2 below to narrow your colleges of interest. After you have completed this step, visit the campuses (step 3). And like high school students, have some backup colleges in case you are not accepted to your first choice.

1. Learn about requirements

Application processes and admission requirements vary by college. Visit the websites of the colleges you are interested in attending or call the college admissions office to find out:
  • ACT and/or SAT requirements
  • Grade point average (GPA) requirements
  • Application processes and deadlines
  • What criteria is used to determine admission
  • Transfer credit review and acceptance guidelines
2. Research college statistics

The college's website or counselors at the admissions office can provide you with more information about the college. Sample questions to ask include:
  • What types of scholarships are available? How does one apply for available scholarships?
  • How many students receive financial aid each year and what's the average amount students receive?
  • What is the average student age?
  • What is the faculty/student ratio?
  • What is the average class size?
  • Do faculty or teaching assistants teach most classes?
  • Do students stay on campus during the weekends?
  • Do most students live on or off campus?
  • Are extracurricular activities that interest you such as service projects, music, drama, sports, intramurals, etc. available on campus?
3. Visit campus

When deciding what college to attend, it is a good idea to visit the college since you will invest a lot of time and money into your education.
  • Call or email the admissions office to schedule an appointment to visit the campus. Notify them of any specific requests you have, such as meeting a professor or attending a class.
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask professors, admissions staff, or fellow students, etc.
  • Take a student-led campus tour, so you can ask additional questions.
  • Take notes and pictures to compare colleges.

If you never graduated from high school, the GED (General Educational Development Test) may fulfill college entrance requirements.