College Planning Checklist for High Schoolers

August 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Now that we are all officially "back-to-school" I started to think about what I was doing this time last year...

CUT TO: Me franticly flipping through college brochures, scholarship applications, and Vogue magazines... c'mon I can't stay focused all the time! Anyways, the beginning of my senior year had me stressing out, and if you're a senior or have ever been a senior, you feel my pain. I was wondering what college I would go to, how many credits I needed to graduate, and don't even get me started on potentially picking a major! But I have created this check-list for all you seniors out there so you can stop stressing and start having an amazing senior year! 

Picking the College for YOU!

The biggest piece of advice I can give when deciding on a college is to pick a college based on what you want, not what your friends, family, or teachers want. Of course the who are important in your life should be allowed to have opinions on where you go to school, but don't solely rely on what others want because when it comes down to it you're the one who will be living there, studying there, and creating a career there.

My decision process went something like this: I started my college search looking at schools in California because of some of my major choices and because I act in my free time. I then started looking at schools in Colorado because two of my siblings live there and most of my extended family lives there. I then started looking in Arizona because of the convenience. After this I finally made my decision. You may be asking, "Wait why didn't you choose California or Colorado," and "How did you choose between all the in-state schools?" Well, first I thought financially- California would be near impossible because it is one of the most expensive states to live in and out of state tuition is sky high. So California was out. Next, I thought about schools in Colorado. I toured Denver University, Regis University, and UC Denver. All of which were great, but I just couldn't imagine myself living there and being happy. Lastly, I looked at in-state schools- University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, and Grand Canyon University. UofA and NAU were almost immediately crossed off the list because of both my major and I honestly didn't love the schools. That left ASU and GCU, this was the toughest choice of all. My sister goes to ASU and loves it there, it has the night life of Tempe, the most students of any public university, and a great Honors college. And although this is the perfect school for my sister, it wasn't right for me. Ultimately, I chose GCU because it was the best fit for me, and I couldn't be happier with my choice! So go with your gut and you'll never regret your decision. 

Scholarships, Scholarships, and More Scholarships

Applying for scholarships can be daunting, there are so many out there yet so little information on how to apply for them. Here are a few links to help you with your search: - this site allows you to put in your information and will narrow your search for you! - I mean... the name says it all - A simple and easy to use data base for both scholarships and grants

Lastly, make sure to ask your guidance counselor for community scholarships, you'd be surprised by how many of your school's and community's scholarships go unapplied for!

 Get Your Teacher Recommendations Early!

Now I don't mean come in on the first day of school asking your English teacher to gush about what an amazing student you are, but don't come in the day before your recommendations are due. I had a friend who did this and let's just say they didn't have the best luck with scholarships... Pick your time wisely, I would suggest right after you just aced a test or turned in a killer report on that super boring book your teacher loves. This will earn you brownie points and your success will be fresh in your teachers head while they write their recommendation. Also, don't just get a recommendation from your favorite teachers. Ask all your teachers for recommendations and pick your favorite because although your choir teacher may love you, they might not give as compelling a recommendation as your AP English Literature teacher. But short doesn't always mean bad, the two recommendations I ended up choosing were completely different. One class I worked extremely hard in and was geared more toward my major and the other I was very talkative, relaxed, and more myself. Recommendations from these two teachers showed both sides to me and worked so well together, and one was only about a paragraph! 

I hope you all take these tips and put them to good use! Happy scholarship hunting! 

If you guys want another College Advice blog comment down below and make sure to follow me on Instagram for blog updates! 

Check out my last blog post: "Perks of Booking in the Fall"


Know the Writer: Tatianna Apodaca is a Senior at Basha High School and will be studying Digital Film with an Emphasis in Screenwriting at the Honors College at Grand Canyon University in the fall. She has a passion for traveling, performing, and writing. At home she has a pup that is smothered with love and kisses, as well as a wonderful family. She loves working with Katie who is always a blast and enjoys interviewing and styling all the KCP Seniors!

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