College Planning FAQs
For high school seniors and their parents, the process of choosing and applying to colleges can be overwhelming. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the college selection, application and admission process. Visit the Admissions portion of our website to get admission information that's specific to Kent State University at Tuscarawas.
Q. What classes do I need to take in high school to be accepted into a college?
A. Most colleges require that students take 17 units of college prep coursework in high school. These units include:
- 4 units of English
- 4 units of Math (i.e. algebra, geometry, trigonometry)
- 3 units of Social Sciences (i.e. history, psychology, sociology)
- 3 units of Basic Science (i.e. biology, chemistry, physical science)
- 2-3 units of a Foreign Language
- 1-2 units of the Arts (i.e. art, music)
Q. What GPA will I need to attain to be accepted into the college of my choice?
A. College admission requirements vary considerably. You will need to check with the colleges you are considering to ascertain their admissions requirements. It is important to also note requirements associated with your chosen program of study. Some major areas are selective and require a higher GPA than what's required for general admission to the university.
Q. Do I need to take the ACT and/or SAT?
A. Most colleges require students to report their ACT and/or SAT scores. Contact the schools you are interested in to find out which test they require you to take. You should check with your guidance office to find out when the ACT and/or SAT will be given and how you can register for the test. You can take the test several times, so you should register early. There is a section on the test registration form for you to indicate the schools you would like to send your results to. ACT/SAT will automatically send your results to the schools you list.
Q. What do I have to do to apply to a college?
A. Most colleges require that you complete an application for admission and remit an admission fee (the amount of the fee varies by college). Different colleges may request different materials, but most will want your ACT/SAT scores and a copy of your high school transcript. Some colleges may request reference letters and/or a personal essay. You should check with the admissions offices of the colleges you are considering to ascertain their requirements and obtain an admission application.
Q. Will I qualify for financial aid?
A. There are many factors considered in figuring financial aid awards. Regardless of your financial status, you and your parents should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. You can obtain the FAFSA in your guidance office or complete it online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The United States Department of Education's web site offers information on the FAFSA, college tax credits, and student aid programs. It can be accessed at www.ed.gov/studentaid. Most colleges have their own financial aid officers to provide assistance with completing forms and answer your questions.
Q. What kinds of scholarship opportunities are available?
A. There are MANY scholarships available to students. Some scholarships are sponsored by independent organizations, while others are supported by universities. You should contact the colleges you are considering to obtain a list of scholarships they offer and an application. You should also check with your guidance counselor and local organizations to discover scholarship opportunities in your area. Your local library will have books describing thousands of scholarship opportunities available to students nationwide as well.
Some scholarships are based solely on academic performance, while others consider community involvement and extracurricular activities. Some scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need, while others are not. You should take the time to fully investigate all sources of money for which you might qualify!
Q. Where can I get information to help me make wise financial decisions for college and my future?
A. While you will be faced with a multitude of financial decisions in the near future, there are resources to help you make informed decisions. We now offer access to a free, nonprofit money management website that can provide the answers and resources you need to make smart choices with your money. It's called CashCourse and can be found at www.cashcourse.org/kentstate.
Q. What things should I consider when trying to choose a college?
A. There are many things to consider when choosing a college. Below are some things to take into consideration:
- Location – Do you want to live on a college campus for your entire college career, for a couple of years, or not at all? What type of atmosphere are you looking for – quiet, rural, collegial, green, bustling or a big-city? How far will you have to drive? Is the campus safe? What is the parking arrangement on campus?
- Cost – What is important here is not necessarily the cost of tuition, but the out-of-pocket costs that you will have to pay. Look carefully at the total cost of attendance (including room and board, meals, etc.) and the financial aid available. Who will be paying for your education? How much can you afford? What scholarship programs does the college offer?
- Program Offerings – What colleges offer the degree program you are interested in? What is the reputation of your intended program at the college you are considering? Are graduates of your intended program finding employment? Are graduates of your intended program passing licensure exams, state boards, etc. (if required for your career choice)?
- Faculty – What are the credentials of the faculty at the schools you are considering? What kinds of research are faculty members involved in? What do faculty focus on – research or teaching? Do faculty maintain office hours?
- Services – What services are offered to students at the colleges you are considering? Do students have access to such things as tutoring, career guidance, disability accommodations, library services, childcare, financial aid assistance, computers, academic advising, placement services, etc.?
- Activities – What activities could you become involved in at the colleges you are considering? Does the college have active clubs and organizations? Does the college sponsor cultural events? Is there a student government on campus? Does the college offer athletic activities you are interested in? Does the college interact with local businesses and community groups?
- Facilities – Do the colleges you are interested in offer modern technologies? Are the campuses well maintained, clean, and safe? Are you comfortable with the way the campus is arranged? Will you have access to state-of-the-art equipment used in your area of study?
- Size – Are you looking for a small school with the opportunity for a high level of involvement and personal attention, or do you prefer a larger campus with a more city-like environment? What is the average class size at the universities you are considering? What is the student to faculty ratio?
These are just a few of the things you should consider as you are looking at your college choices. Remember to consider your own personal needs and wants as well.
Q. What things should I do during a college visit?
A. You should take full advantage of your opportunity to visit the college campus. Take a notebook so you can jot down important points and questions that arise. During your college visit, you should meet with Admissions staff; talk about the admission, course and graduation requirements of your chosen program; meet with faculty from your major area; take a tour of the campus; observe a class in progress; talk with a financial aid officer and maybe even talk with current students of the campus. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask that particular activities be included in your campus visit.
A campus visit is one of the best ways to get a feel for the campus environment and explore your program – work with admissions staff to design a visit that meets your needs!
Q. What can I do in high school to prepare myself for college?
A. One of the most important things that you should do in high school to get yourself ready for college is to develop good study habits. College is much less structured than high school and students must discipline themselves for study. Your college schedule will not include "study halls", so it is important to discover your strengths (and weaknesses) and arrange your free time to include the right amount of study time. You should get used to taking good notes in class and studying them carefully after class. Just as everyone looks differently, everyone learns differently. It is important that you consider how you learn most effectively and how you study most effectively. Knowing how to prepare for tests, research projects, paper writing and classroom participation is essential!
Q. Do I have to know what career I want to pursue before I enter college?
A. No! Even students who enter college with a declared major often change their minds several times during their college years. College is actually a great place to discover your personal interests and areas of strength. Some universities have an on-site career center to help you explore careers and the coming job market. Most career centers use personality and interest inventories to match you with jobs that might interest you.
If you think you might be interested in a particular career, find someone in your community who is in that profession and "shadow" them. Many people would be happy to show you what a "typical" day on the job is like. Also, consider attending a local career fair or talking with your guidance counselor about your career options.