Divergent. The Fault in Our Stars. The Hunger Games.
If you've read them, you aren't alone. They're among the most-read books by high school students, according to Renaissance Learning — along with classics written by literary giants such as Harper Lee and Shakespeare.
If you read them, did you notice the college-search advice they offered?
No, really! (Okay, so not really, but play along anyway, huh?).
But hold on, no need to read through each of them again. We've excerpted wise words from Suzanne Collins to the Bard himself.
Lesson 1: Go see some colleges, already.
It is so hard to leave until you leave. And then it is the easiest (expletive) thing in the world.
John Green, Paper Towns
Get out and see Colorado's numerous higher-ed options for yourself. It might seem hard to do, but try it. You'll find you're glad to be going once you set off. So get going already. You don't have to be a junior or senior — just open to thinking about the next step on the journey.
Lesson 2: Speak up.
Jack was the first to make himself heard. He had not got the conch and thus spoke against the rules; but nobody minded.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Ask questions, express yourself, wonder aloud. This is serious, people. You're looking for THE place where you'll meet lifelong friends, chart your future course and make things happen. Don't be shy. Seize the conch shell. You'll be glad you did. (And really, tour guides tire of doing all the talking. You'll be doing them a favor by piping up.)
Lesson 3: Be brave today, and tomorrow, and so on.
There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.
That is the sort of bravery I must have now.
Veronica Roth, Allegiant
Be brave, and don't let yourself make an easy decision. (Unless, of course, it's love at first sight. Then, Tris, do what you must! Kidding. We're kidding.) But really, with such a big decision, it's time to get busy and get to work on the deets. Who has your major? What about financial aid? How do you feel when you visit campus? Are you taking the easy, well-traveled route, or choosing your own path? Build a spreadsheet. Take good notes. Be brave enough to take the many, daily small steps that will help you fully consider your options.
Lesson 4: Dream big.
What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?
John Green, An Abundance of Katherines
College is a time to do what you've always wanted to do, meet new people, sample new food and explore new ideas. And it's the time to go for broke (but not necessarily GO broke — more on that in future posts). If you're not already dreaming up this remarkable life you're going to lead, get to dreaming. You'll want to have that sparkling future self in mind when you're touring Colorado's numerous campuses and perusing college mailings and websites.
Lesson 5: Be ready to change your mind.
We know what we are, but not what we may be.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
College-bound students cite lots of different criteria when looking at schools. Among them: distance from home, cost and the feel of the campus. But what is often called out as most crucial is the availability of a particular major. Heed Shakespeare's caution, however. You may know who you are (and what you want to major in) now, but that could change. In fact, as USA Today and others have reported, nearly 80 percent of students change their major. Keep that in mind as you explore your options.
Lesson 6: Take heart. It's hard to mess this up completely.
May the odds be ever in your favor!
Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
Colorado is home to a wealth of top-notch colleges and universities. What's more important than which institution you pick is that you pick and enroll. The data couldn't be clearer about that. The odds of you making a great choice are really, really high — so long as you make a choice, apply, enroll — and leap.
Good luck out there, Coloradans. Have some questions to pose (or better quotes to offer up)? Send them our way.