Before you begin applying to college and spending hundreds of dollars on the application fees alone, you need to find out if you’re even ready for college. But how do you know? Ask yourself these 3 simple questions to find out.
Do I want to go to college?
Too often I meet with students who are performing poorly in their courses and the primary cause is, not lack of intelligence or preparation, but lack of motivation.
Let me be clear here: the emphasis is on the I. The only person that can answer this question is YOU. Not your parents, grandparents, friends or teachers. You have to want to go to college. If you’re going out of fear of disappointing important people in your life, trust when I saw that the bigger disappointment will be you not being honest with them (and yourself) and the potential waste of money (if they’re paying for part or all of it). Too often I meet with students who are performing poorly in their courses and the primary cause is, not lack of intelligence or preparation, but lack of motivation. They don’t want to be in college and usually that leads to bad grades.
What am I willing to do?
…at the root of it is the motivation and willingness to do it.
As in, are you willing to ask for help when you need it? Are you willing to change your study habits? Are you willing to prioritize? If you get straight A’s now, are you willing to deal with the potential that you may not perform at your best right away? There is a learning curve to college and those who succeed are the ones who are willing to put in the work. That work will look different for everyone: seeking out a tutor, cutting back some on your time with friends, getting involved with clubs and student organizations, going to the library, getting a part-time job (or giving one up), studying with peers (or alone). Regardless of which of these apply to you, at the root of it is the motivation and willingness to do it.
Am I okay with failure?
This is crucial because failure is inevitable. It’s what you do with that failure that matters.
This is the tough one. As I mentioned earlier, you may not get straight A’s during your first semester. Even worse yet, you may end up failing a class. What’s your next step? Get discouraged and give up? Or learn from your mistakes and carry on? This is crucial because failure is inevitable. It’s what you do with that failure that matters. It is okay to fail a class. It is okay if you don’t know what you’re doing (and to admit that). What’s not okay is to give up when you’ve only just started. Failure is not a character trait to identify with. Failure is not a weight tied to your ankle that you’ll drag around with you forever. Failure is a lesson and lessons are important for our growth as human beings.
Answer these questions honestly, for yourself and only yourself (leave them in the comments below if you feel comfortable). No one is here to judge you, least of all me. And it is absolutely okay if you answered no to one or more of these questions. It is okay to figure out for yourself first what your goal is in life and if that goal requires college. And if it doesn’t, I’m proud of you for figuring out what YOU want out of life and for advocating for your own happiness.