Keep In Mind These Thoughts on College Planning

Keep In Mind These Thoughts on College Planning
  • Opening Intro -

    College planning isn't always as easy as it seems.

    As a person who has worked in higher education at a private college for 12 years, I have seen many misconceptions that students have about college, whether it be the high school student graduating and heading to college or the adult that is wanting to go back to school.

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More tips from a college friend of mine:

College planning isn’t always as easy as it seems. As a person who has worked in higher education at a private college for 12 years, I have seen many misconceptions that students have about college, whether it be the high school student graduating and heading to college or the adult that is wanting to go back to school. The information below may help save you some heartache, struggle, and time along the way.

Accreditation And Transferring

When looking at colleges first keep in mind accreditation. Almost every school will tout itself as being accredited and can do so legally, but not all accreditations are made equal. There are many accreditations that a school can obtain and claim, but that doesn’t mean that your credits will be transferred as accredited.

Regional accreditations are the accrediting bodies that you want to find at your college. If you attended a college that is not regionally accredited just be careful if you want to transfer to a regionally accredited college – sometimes the credits won’t transfer.

I have personally seen too many students be so confused by the accreditation terminology and practically “waste” 1 or 2 years of credits that won’t transfer to the college they want to attend. Many people just do not realize the accreditation rules. Also, remember to check on the accreditation or licensing in areas that would require a separate type of accrediting such as Social Work or Teacher Licensure.

What Are Your Credits Worth?

Next, remember to check on your credits and what they are worth. There are semester credit hours and quarter hours. A lot of the Mid-West to West Coast colleges are on quarter hours and most of the East Coast colleges are on semester hours. So check on this especially if you will attend a college on the West Coast and then transfer to the East – for instance a quarter semester credit would only cover 1/4 of a 1 semester credit hour which in turn would mean you would need more classes and credits to fill the semester credit hour requirement.

If you are planning to go to college, use these summary guides to help in your submission requirements:

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College Policies

Be very mindful of the requirements in the college catalog of any college you want to attend. If you know you are attending a college only to transfer to another, please check out both college’s policies of both transferring out and transferring in – no two colleges are identical in their policies even though many seem to think that all policies are the same across the board for every college.

Course Requirements

One more thing to keep in mind when college planning is to map out your requirements from start to finish for your degree requirements (these may change slightly over your four years, but not much if you have done careful planning).

Once you have chosen your dream major and what you want to be for the rest of your life, check the requirements for that degree and plan accordingly. If you have several classes that you cannot take until your junior year, then go ahead and put those classes already in your junior semesters. Check all classes to see if they are offered both Fall and Spring or just one semester or the other.

If you have a class that you struggle in, for instance Math, do not, and I repeat do NOT save this class toward the end of your college career. Believe it or not, I have seen way too many students put their graduation on hold because they chose to take their Math class toward the last few semesters of the college years, only to fail the class several times and have to stay a whole semester extra just to be able to pass that one class and graduate.

If you know you have a class that is difficult for you, take it earlier, preferably in your Sophomore year. Careful planning of your courses will make your college years so much easier. Also, in planning you can put a little more into your first 3 years and make your Senior year a little lighter or at least your last semester, which makes for a wonderful way to lead up to graduation!

I hope that this information will help someone in the college world. I have seen the frustration, anger and disappointment in students over all of these above situations. College policies must be adhered to and the rules must be followed. Shortcuts cannot be made, so if you do your research and are armed with the above knowledge it will cut down on that frustration, anger and disappointment.

Please share this information on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) in order to help someone out in planning their college years. College is such a wonderful time and I always hated to see that overshadowed by misconceptions that put the student at a loss or disadvantage. Remember the school nor the staff or faculty caused the problem either and they are there to help you over these hurdles. By sharing this information it will help alleviate these problems for the student!

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