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Early Start College Planning

Motivational Speaker; Life Balance

"Together we achieve more."TM




Posted on February 23, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Welcome to this first edition of The Early Start College Planning blog!  I am very excited to share my insights about college planning with you!  As you read this edition, think about yourself, who you are, what interests you, what you want for your future.  Go ahead, DREAM!  Let yourself be open to possibilities as you start this life-changing process to create the future you want for yourself!  Have fun!

Middle school years are not too early to start planning for college/post high school training. One way to start this process is to keep a notebook on your strengths and interests as you go through middle school and throughout high school.  Here is a list of items to consider when thinking about the college going process as a middle school student. 

1. Where in the U.S. or overseas would you like to go to college?

2. Are you basically outgoing or more reserved? If outgoing, a larger school might appeal to you. If more reserved, a smaller environment might serve you better.


 3.   Larger schools often have lots of activities, sports, etc.  At smaller schools, it might be easier to feel included.  Which might appeal to you more, given what you know about yourself at this time?


 4. Location matters.  Do you want to attend a school in a more populated area with many off campus possibilities, or would a small college town atmosphere appeal to you more?

5. Does "going away" to college scare you?  If so, consider local colleges that might be an hour or so away from home.


6. Perhaps starting at a community college might best fit your needs early in your college years. Consider local community colleges.

7. Do you have a talent?  Are you a strong student?  Do you play an instrument, have a particular skill, play a sport, aspire to more leadership opportunities?  These are areas in which you might receive scholarship/financial aid money to attend college.  Keep these areas in mind as you consider different colleges and the opportunities they may offer you.


While I could list many more items for consideration, this list is a good starting point to consider as you begin your college search process.


Be aware that as you pursue answering these questions, others will arise and you may change your mind many times about any or all of the issues raised above.  THAT'S OK BECAUSE YOU ARE STARTING EARLY! YOU HAVE TIME TO CHANGE YOUR MIND. This is the most important value of starting early to set goals for yourself regarding your future after high school.


Go online to do searches by part of the country or by state.  For example, you could search "four year colleges in New England with strong engineering programs" to bring up schools with solid engineering programs.  Look at their websites.  See what courses you have to take to be an engineering major.  Check out how their campus looks.  See if they show photos from different seasons of the year.  Can you see yourself living there and spending four years in that environment?  Make a folder on your desktop with colleges you like, so you can go back and revisit their websites in the future.


Have fun with this process.  Don't spend too much time on it at one sitting unless you are motivated to do so. Do however, commit each week to spending time online for maybe 15 minutes at a time.  Let your awareness of your strengths and interests guide you as you look for colleges online or explore local colleges by visiting them. BE CURIOUS about your future.  At this time in your search, it should be fun and a time of gathering information about yourself and possibilities for your future.  Write down names of colleges you like in your notebook and maybe a sentence or paragraph about what interested you.  

Please respond to my blog if you find any of these ideas helpful, or if there are questions you have about anything in this first edition.  I look forward to your feedback.

Until next time,

John Cotter

Categories: Early Start College Planning

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