1. Mentor- Find someone who has been to college and lived the entire experience. College can be extremely daunting for those who are first generation students. So many decisions to make concerning a could be life altering experience. You need someone who is going to sit you down . Someone who will dispel honesty about the issues you may encounter and how to handle them effectively.
2. Research- Do your research on the colleges you are most interested in attending. I would suggests narrowing down your options even to locations. I would also suggest for those who might be weary of moving away from family to consider a two year school. Getting your feet wet in a two year school will prepare you for the sense of alternating schedules, the new feel of freedom, buying books, and standing in long lines.
3.Scholarships- I was not well versed on the on concept of searching for scholarships but nowadays you can do a Google search and a plethora of different scholarships are awarded to people, even down to people who are left handed. Find as many scholarships as you can and apply to as many as you can. Nothing bad will come of applying to multiple scholarships, only good. I was awarded a scholarship to waiver my out of state tuition fees. Every bit counts.
4. Campus Tours- All colleges are available to conduct tours. It is imperative if you can to get a feel for a college campus especially if you have never stepped foot on a large university. I attended small HBCU’s in undergrad so when I was accepted to the University Houston I was immediately intimidated. But once you get the hang of it and meet people who are just as lost, knowing your way around campus becomes like second like nature.
5. Financial Aid- Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of how you plan to financially secure the duration of your time in school . You might be one of the few who is allotted a free ride for your entire college career, but most of us will not have the luxury. The financial aid office is the most stressful office on campus. But if you arm yourself with knowledge beforehand, take all the classes and seminars offered, the anxiety will decrease immensely.
*Bonus / Attitude- Your attitude toward the experience will also play a large role in how you successful your experience will be. I know after my first round in the financial aid office after standing in line for centuries, I felt defeated. Once I got through the all the red tape, I still knew in my heart I wanted to attend college and a bad day trying to register was not going to stop me. Have a positive mindset and you will graduate.