By: Morgan Mansfield/Co-Editor in Chief
As high school students, we are constantly asked about our future plans, but with the stress of school, sports, competitions, jobs, and clubs, finding time to think about our future becomes difficult. Senior year, many students already know their post-graduation plans, but the question for many underclassmen is, “When should I start planning?”
According to both of Blue Ridge’s high school guidance counselors, Mrs. Shauna Williams and Mrs. Paula Finn, it is never too early for students to start thinking about and planning their futures.
Williams says, “Students as young as elementary school should be exposed to different careers so they can start thinking about what they want to do when they grow up. By the time a student reaches middle/high school, hopefully they have some idea (even the smallest) of a path they may want to take for their career.”
Blue Ridge’s 2018 graduates Li Ling Lee and Jessica Marvin both began searching for colleges their junior year of high school. Lee heavily relied on the internet, using websites like College Board to assist her in her college search process. She also attended a college fair that was provided through Blue Ridge’s guidance office.
Lee says, “Start your college/technical school search your junior year. You don’t need to know where exactly you want to go, but if you have an idea, you’ll be better prepared for when it comes time to apply for schools during your senior year.
As for current high school senior, Bobby Reynolds, he began looking for colleges a bit earlier. He started looking for schools at the end of his sophomore year, saying, “I wanted to get a head start because I know how picky I am, and I wanted the perfect fit.”
Reynolds started looking online, but he also attended a college fair. According to Reynolds, “College fairs are amazing because you can get exposed to so many options.”
Searching online for schools has also shown to be an effective tool in the process. Finn and Williams find that College Board and SCOIR are two great online resources available for students to prepare for college (if they choose that path). Once students reach their sophomore year of high school, they should be familiar with College Board, the program students receive their PSAT, SAT, and AP scores from. SCOIR is an online program that became available to Blue Ridge students last year where students can compare colleges that meet their personal preferences.
The internet is not the only way to find out about colleges. Junior, Tori Auckland, has already decided that her top college choice is Cairn University for Early Childhood Education. Auckland did not learn about this school through internet sources, but by ear. She says, “A lot of my family went to it and it has a good education program.”
Reynolds says, “Apply to the college that makes you smile when you step foot there. Don’t apply somewhere because your friend is going there, apply to the college that you know you’ll be happy at. Moreover, be confident! Apply to the college you want to go to, believe in yourself!”
However you decide on your future school, or what you want to do in life, is up to you, because it is your future.
When it comes to college searches, Marvin’s advice is, “Breathe!!! Seriously. This process is hard and scary, but there’s literally no way that you won’t come out of it. It’s a big decision, yes, but there’s always the option of transferring if you don’t feel you’ve made the right choice. Also, everyone is struggling. You’re never alone and remember that there are so many wonderful teachers and advisors at BR who are there to help you.”
Also, check out Peyton Gelinger’s article to see the list of scholarships available in the guidance office.
Morgan Mansfield is a second year journalism student, taking on her junior year of high school. She spends most of her free time singing, playing, or writing music. Fascinated by the human mind, Morgan plans to obtain a degree in Clinical Psychology and become a therapist to help people work through their troubles.