Ask the right questions before the college search

Many students do not question the desire to attend college. There are unconscious assumptions and unspoken expectations that they will go to college after graduating from high school. Instead, the more critical question students grapple with is “why college?”.

As young people consider life beyond secondary school, they are well advised to take a more intentional approach to their future. Often, we fail to think deeply or ask the right questions, when in reality, mindful awareness and consideration of thoughtful questions is needed to understand one’s self and the fears and hopes that will guide the college search.

Counsellors have unique approaches and advice to offer young people as they begin on their college search journey. Many encourage students to focus on understanding their own needs first and placing less emphasis on external pressures and expectations – “the college journey is an individual experience and is so incredibly different for everyone”. Others caution students to remember that it is perfectly okay to not have all the answers all at once and to instead take the time to get to know themselves instead. Ultimately, students have to remember that “the way a student learns and interacts with their academic setting is important to finding a good fit in college…the academic structure of a school can help students zero in on a type of academic setting that will work for them”.

At the end of the day, in order to get the most out of their college experience, students must go back to the question of “why college?”. Young people who constantly ponder “why”, are more likely to find themselves in a community of learners who value their ability to seek answers. This acute sense of self-awareness and self-reflection will help students not only understand themselves better, but also achieve the success they desire.

In my opinion, this is one very important aspect that we have to educate our youth on. Sometimes, to ask “why?” is more important than the answer itself. Questioning leads to self-reflection, which in turn can lead to a happier life.

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