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Why do you want to go to college?

The answer, "Because my parents want me to" isn't good enough. College is not only about your parents' investment in money, but your investment in time and sweat and tears.

So it's important that before you go any further, you arrive at your own clear answer to the question: Why do I want to go to college? To stimulate your thinking about reasons why you might want to go to college, these are the "serious" responses and ones you should consider:

  1. For a quality education in my chosen field of interest and aptitude.
  2. For an education while maintaining other parts of my life as it currently exists.
  3. To "get a good job."
  4. To make professional and/or social contacts.
  5. Prestige.
  6. To increase my overall knowledge in many areas by exposure to a range of experiences and experts.
  7. To develop myself intellectually, emotionally and socially.

Do any of these answers make sense to you? Can you use your own words to articulate your reasons or goals? You may have some less serious reasons ... and just plain goofy reasons, too. That's OK. Just so you identify some reasons that make sense to you.

Another question to consider is "When?" When do I want to go to college? Not everyone goes to college right out of high school.

Once you've established that you do want to go to college (and since you're still reading, I'm assuming you have), then what do you do?

Lots of books offer play-by-play calendars of what to do when. But since you're on the web, a good location for specific, detailed instructions about what to do each year of high school to prepare for college is on the College Board site. When you get on this web page, go to "Action plan for," choose your year in high school and click "Go." You'll get a list of specific suggestions.

But here's the scoop

It comes down to four closely related principles to guide you throughout high school.

  1. Do your best work.
  2. Know yourself well.
  3. Utilize your resources and opportunities.
  4. Keep your options open.

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