There are many resources available to students and parents on applying for college and for financial aid. Your high school guidance counselor is a good place to start. There are also many resources on the web that can help!
HOW TO APPLY FOR COLLEGE
Begin with the college or university’s Web site. While you should not base your decision solely on what you see online, Web sites can give you a good place to learn about their degree programs, campus life and costs.
Almost all colleges and universities require a high school diploma and SAT or ACT scores. They differ widely, however, in their selectivity — in other words, how high your grades and scores must be. In addition, many may have additional requirements such as essays or letters of recommendation.
It is important to find out the admissions requirements for each university you plan to apply to well in advance. You don’t want to find you’re missing some requirements at the last moment. Admissions offices for most schools can be found on their Web sites.
Once you have narrowed your search, it is time to submit applications to those institutions. Some people recommend applying to as many as eight different schools — three “reach” schools; three “likely” schools; and two “safety” schools — that way you can be assured you’ll have a choice.
Each school will have a different application process, as well as different admissions requirements and deadlines for submission. Check with the admissions office of the school(s) you are interested in to make sure you have submitted everything required. Many schools now offer online applications–and most prefer this method.
HOW TO PAY FOR COLLEGE
Tuition and fees vary widely depending on the school. In general, in-state is cheaper than out-of-state and public is cheaper than private. Even within these groups, however, there can be wide differences. You should check with the admissions office at each school you are considering attending.
Find out the cost of tuition and fees at LSU System institutions through their individual Web sites.
Don’t forget, tuition and fees are only one part of the cost of attending college. Books and supplies have to be considered. Whether you live on-campus or off-campus, there will be cost-of-living expenses for housing, food and transportation. And there are always miscellaneous expenses for personal goods and entertainment.
There are several sites that offer budget worksheets to help students and potential students figure out their monthly cash flow.
PLANNING A VISIT
Plan a visit to as many schools as possible. If you are interested in a school, but cannot visit, then make sure to visit them online. Ask friends or family who may have gone there. Check with the admissions office and see if they have a video or other promotional material. There are some commercial videos of campus tours that you can purchase. Just remember that this is not the same as seeing it for yourself.
You can visit each of our campus Web sites to learn more about planning a visit.
Selecting a college is ultimately a personal decision. Ask yourself which school is right for you. Consider location, cost, academic programs, selectiveness and reputation. Look at the degree programs offered. Consider the availability of extracurricular activities — Greek societies, athletics, music, fine arts, etc. Would you prefer a large or small school? Urban, suburban or rural? Do you want to live on or off campus?