Greetings, Amazing Peoples!After coming back to the forums, I started posting in a topic entitled College Applications. Made by a high school senior looking for application advice, I soon regaled him with bit after bit of advice about applying, looking for colleges, etc... I realized fairly quickly that there was far more to this process than I would ever be able to fit into a single post. So I’m making a blog series about applying for college, preparing, and the first term. I hope it’s helpful for all the soon-to-be grads on this site. So let’s get started! As always, we open with a song!
(AMAZING INTRO MUSIC)
So You Want to Go to College?
Part 1: Finding your Path
Ah, College. That institute of higher learning that we all strive for. The gate to a hopeful land beyond that promises better jobs and a more successful life.
One myth that I will debunk right now: There are articles circulating around the internet that claim college isn’t necessary, That you can do just fine if you have a high school degree and lots of work experience. (And also some complaints about how people with bachelor’s degrees are getting all the jobs that don’t require them.) Sure, that may be true; for the retail industry. But what about engineers? Surgeons and doctors? Ambassadors? I can speak from personal experience; even professional performers can’t get by on pure talent and hard work. They need training. That’s what college is for: Professional training and education for higher-end jobs. (And the “Degree-people-are-getting-all-the-jobs-thing” is slanted. I know someone who DIDN’T get a job with a retail place because she was overqualified.)
The first question you need to ask yourself is this: Do I want to go to college? In my personal opinion, the answer should be Yes. Not only is College a great place to get that degree you need, it’s a great place to learn everything important about being an adult while still having a support network; paying bills, taking care of a house, balancing a job and social life, and so on. You also make friends for life. My dad still hangs out with his friends from college, and some of the best friends I have ever made I met in the Theatre department here at school. If you don’t want to go (Or can’t afford it right now) That’s fine. Consider at least an associate’s degree at a community college.
Which leads into the next question; What do I want to Do with My Life?
You don’t need to know the exact answer to this question right now. I’m in my Junior year and I’m still learning what I want to do. A lot of kids start college without any sort of declared major. But if you at least have an Idea, it can help put you on the right track.
If your high school was anything like mine, they have you do a program that makes you line out your five-year plan for after high school; The college you go to, what you plan to major in, where you go after you graduate, etc... This is a pretty good baseline. Don’t be surprised if this changes, though. College is a learning experience, and not just in the classroom. If you do have an idea (or already know what career you want) good for you! This will make looking for colleges and signing up for classes easier.
Don’t know what you want to do yet? Start by figuring out what you DO like to do. Are you outdoorsy? Do you like to debate with others? Are you always doodling in the margins of your notes at school? Is Chemistry your favorite class? Your hobbies and interests are often a good indication of what career field would suit you best. How you organize and process information in also a good indicator. If you tend to be the person who organizes events or is the class secretary, you’re probably the manager type. If you like to design posters and tell others about upcoming events, look for a career in promotions or advertising. I, myself, didn’t realize how much I organized meetings and rehearsals in high school, or improvised a performance or class project until I found out there was a career field in Theatre that specializes in just that: Stage Management.
Why is this information relevant and important? Because it has a huge impact on what colleges you will apply for, and the career fields you choose. I don’t know of any people who go to law school to become better actors. By choosing a school that specializes in a certain field (or at least has a large department dedicated to it) You are more likely to get the help that you want, when you need it.
Oh, one more thing; There have been criticisms of people who get bachelor degrees and don’t use them, people who don’t even get degrees, people who go to school for expensive grad programs... Remember that people will disagree with anything. (If your response to that was “No they don’t,” You’ve already proven my point.) Don’t be afraid to do something because people will criticize you. “Oh, you’ll never make any money doing that!” “That field’s too hard to get into. Why don’t you try something else?” “You’re a theatre student? Oh, I’m so sorry.” (I personally hate that one. Not all theatre people are actors looking for a gig while working at a fast food place!) My point is, don’t let these people scare you away from the Dream job you’ve been searching for, from the mountain you’ve started to climb. Sure, the path there will be hard. (No one ever said life was easy. Anyone who says different is either a liar or selling something.) But it makes getting to the top of the mountain all the more worthwhile.Well, that’s all for today! (I have a class to get to, myself.) Next time, We’ll discuss choosing the right college for you, before you even start applying.
-How can a College Degree improve your chances of getting a job? How could it hinder you?
-What jobs require a college degree, and what doesn’t? What jobs are there where the line is blurred; between a degree holder and someone with 15 years experience?
-What traits or hobbies do you have that could lead to a specific field? Or lead to careers that seem a little out of left field for your interests?
-Should the career you want influence the school you go to?