Choosing a college

Mckenzie Wade, Reporter

Finding the right college is a difficult task; there are many questions you must ask yourself before even considering any college. This process should be not rushed. It’s better to be patient with this process because the college chosen could be your future for two or more years and paves the path for the rest of your life. 

Before settling with a college, there’s four important questions to ask yourself: what do you want to study, where do you want to live, how big do you want the school to be, and how much will tuition and your studies cost. These are basic questions to ask before looking for your perfect school. 

Often, these questions will be easier to answer with the aid of a parent, counselor, or a trusted adult. Throughout high school, teachers often will help their students figure out what path they wish to follow. 

Blackman High offers at least two career aptitude tests for students to take in their first two years. These tests help determine which career path best fits the student.   

The YouScience test will display your strengths and weaknesses, specific careers, colleges for those careers, and the amount of time those will take to achieve. Understanding what you want to do in the future is important. If unsure about your future, school counselors are available to discuss future goals. 

The other test is the ASVAB and is used to determine eligibility for the army and decipher what professions would work best for you. It consists of ten sections: word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, arithmetic reasoning, mathematics knowledge, general science, electronics info, shop info, automotive info, assembling objects, and mechanical comprehension. This test is taken the sophomore year and can reveal how much you know about these various areas. 

Many seniors are still touring colleges and trying to figure out which one is the best fit; most plan on starting their application process thanksgiving break till the beginning of January.  

“I am doing research on various colleges and trying to see which one will be the best fit. I have been to three colleges: UT Knoxville, MTSU, and UT Martin. I’m looking into five other colleges and touring three or four other ones, but the one I like the most is UT Martin. Right now, I’m taking into serious consideration UT Martin West Virgina State University, Lincoln [Memorial] University. I plan to apply during thanksgiving break,” stated Randy Cousin, senior. 

Knowing and being comfy where you decide to live is important. Geographically knowing the type of climate and atmosphere is one key to anyone’s success. You should be comfortable with the city you’ll be living in for the next few years and should have fun in it.  

College is all about your studies; however, it is also about finding yourself and having fun during your time there. The type of school you choose should be in a city with the atmosphere you feel most comfortable in. 

The question on the type of school refers to the size and overall campus life. Some people feel more comfortable attending a small school with a very close community, others find large schools with a lot of diversity appealing. This part of choosing a college is all based on how you feel and what you want, the environment you live in is key to future success. 

Parents mainly focus on cost when it comes to college; no one wants to have to take out multiple student loans and be in debt for years. 

 The easiest way to avoid these are to get academic scholarships, which are earned by maintaining good grades. Other ways to avoid taking out multiple student loans are to apply for FAFSA or the Tennessee Promise. FAFSA helps with paying for tuition and fees meanwhile any remaining money can go to books, supplies, or living expenses. 

One of our Blackman High counselors, Jackie Wilder, stated“Students should research careers, then research which colleges offer your chosen major. Once you narrow down, you should take a tour of each one. Students should take courses that are challenging, participate in test prep, and career exploration.” The counselors at Blackman are available for questions about anything for your future career and will always support its students. 

The counseling staff is important for the college planning process as well and can always help answer any questions. Wilder stated, “Our counselors make opportunities available for students to visit with college admissions counselors, financial aid representatives as well as encouraging students to research colleges online and visit.” The junior counselor Jackie Wilder is an example of how supportive the Blackman counseling staff can be for thier students. 

The college search process is important to your future and can be lengthy, so it is better to start thinking about it as early as possible. Talk to counselors or parents/guardians for more specific information about FAFSA, Tennessee Promise, and college in general.