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Who goes to college?

Students walk through three side-by-side glass doors on campus

June 07, 2018

If you’re on the fence about attending a college after high school, that may be because you don’t know if college is right for you. Maybe you’re a first-generation student and you don’t know what steps to take. Maybe you’re considering your family’s socioeconomic status, your career path, your current GPA or your study habits. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do. Whatever your situation, here are some confidence-boosting tips. 

  • The First-Generation Student

    Being the first in your family to attend college can be a scary and thrilling step toward your goals. Be sure to keep track of deadlines. The sooner you apply, the sooner you get accepted (for schools with rolling admissions) and can take the next steps. There are a ton of resources available for first-generation students, especially at an institution like UNC (one example is the Center for Human Enrichment). Once you get to campus, reaching out to people like your Resident Advisor (also called an RA — this is a student who’s already been in college for a year or two, lives in the residence hall and whose job it is to help students navigate college), your academic advisors and your fellow students will make your transition smoother and more successful.

  • The Financially Realistic Student

    The dreaded financial element might have you considering going straight into the workforce because you don’t have a savings account big enough for your education. Seeking out opportunities for scholarships within your community, your state and at the school of your choice will increase your odds of obtaining the help you need. Even without scholarships, colleges want to make themselves accessible to you. Their
    financial aid programs include grants and loans to help cover the cost of your education.

  • The Improving Student

    If you’re considering attending college but don’t have a 4.0 GPA, never fear. Colleges take into account your GPA, but many also consider other factors. Some of these include your volunteer experience, extracurriculars, your ACT or SAT scores, and if you had a job in high school. High school is a great time to beef up your resume by getting involved. Participating in clubs or sports and finding internships is a good way to find your career path and help you get into the college of your choice. You don’t have to already be amazing at studying to attend college. It’s a lot of learn-as-you-go. You may encounter classmates who will teach you study habits by demonstrating their own, or you might take a class that teaches study techniques. Overall, what they say is true: If there’s a will, there’s a way. Some students start college thinking they know exactly what they want — and end up changing their mind midway through. You don’t have to have it all figured out in order to attend. In fact, it’s a good idea to come to college open to the idea that your path might change!


is a senior graduating in the fall with an Elementary Education licensure. For her last semester, she’s student teaching in a first-grade classroom in Longmont, Colo.