The Student News Site of Carl Sandburg High School



College Search Basics

As the end of the 2023-2024 school year approaches, it becomes increasingly important for students to begin deciding what they want to do after high school. Both juniors and seniors prioritize this. In fact, many seniors have already decided where they will be going after graduation. 

For a large number of students, this means plans to attend college, which start before senior year even begins. Mrs. Schultz, the college and career counselor at Sandburg, explains, “I would say that searching for the right college really starts sophomore and junior year, so that senior year you’re not scrambling. By the time you’re a senior, you kinda know for sure where you’re going to apply and that they have the programs you’re interested in.”

To go about this, there are both online and in-person resources available at school. Conveniently, the SchooLinks website contains easily accessible information regarding both universities and careers.

Mrs. Schultz says, “It’s a College and Career search program. Not enough students know, but the district pays for you guys to have that program. It’s on your Classlink. Schools subscribe there, so they provide their information, and it’s accurate information. You can always Google a college, but you don’t always know if that’s correct information.”

In addition, meeting with college representatives in-person is beneficial to the selection process. Students can do this directly at Sandburg, as college representatives frequently visit campus. To plan for these visits, information about them is located on SchooLinks.

If possible, making the trip to a campus in person is also recommended. Mrs. Schultz comments, “When colleges are visiting Sandburg, make sure that you are here for those visits in the College and Career Center, so that you can ask questions with the college reps. You can visit campuses [as well]. You want to make sure that as a junior, you’re visiting some schools so that you kinda know if you like the way the campus feels.”

Sandburg junior Samantha Tejada explains her own experience with choosing a school. She says, “The schools I picked were either cheap, easy to be accepted, far away, [in] a seemingly safe area, or in a specific city I like. I assume it’s the same for most kids. For me, it’s Washington, D.C.”

As for getting into a school, there are many factors that colleges consider when accepting potential students. According to Mrs. Schultz, “Schools are really focusing in on your GPA, and it’s never been more important to have a good GPA. And to have challenged yourself in high school in terms of what courses you’ve taken. So, if you’ve taken some honors or AP courses, colleges like to see that. Colleges also want to know what you do outside of school. Are you involved in the school community, do you have any leadership roles, or do you participate in any sports or clubs? Because that really speaks for your character and what kinds of experiences you have.”

Sandburg Junior Chidera Mochu says of her pre-application preparations, “I’m trying my best with my grades and to do well on the SAT, as well as looking at class requirements the school has.”

In all, preparing for and choosing a school can be a stressful experience, particularly for juniors. Tejada says, “I find thinking about college to be super overwhelming at an early age. It costs thousands of dollars. It’s where I’m gonna spend the next two to four years of my life.”

Ashton Powers, a Sandburg junior, agrees with her. He explains, “College thoughts are scary and stressful. I’m terrified with how fast applications for college programs and colleges themselves are coming.”

Mochu comments, “I feel nervous about college because I don’t know if I’ll be accepted into the school that I want to get into.”

However, for Sandburg senior Julia Pavic, college is a more optimistic change. She says, “I’m feeling very fulfilled with my high school experience, and I’m ready for a new start in college. Currently, I’d say the only thing that I’m worried about for college is just like adjusting to it initially and finding a roommate. I would say for anyone who’s not a senior and is scared about college: don’t be, you’ll be fine, everybody’s gotta do it.”

For assistance with any post-high school concerns, Mrs. Schultz is available every day in the College and Career Center. It is located in room C120 of the Guidance Office. “Freshman through seniors are more than welcome during their lunch [or] second hour if you want to email me and make an appointment. If you have certain questions, I can answer them for you. If I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you,” she says. 

Despite its challenges, college preparations are still a change to look forward to for students. As Powers puts it, “I’m scared about moving on, but I’m also excited for the future fun and opportunities I will gain should I succeed in the process. I’ll just wait and see.”

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