What College Will You Choose 2.0

College Life 2.0 – “Where + when do I want to go?”

You can find College Life 1.0 right here ➯ College::Are You Ready?

college-visits, washington, gonzaga, whitworth

We went on another round of college visits a few weeks back and it was full of fun, delayed flights, a lost rental car, best walking shoes, + another college candidate.


In my first College Life article I wrote about 5 tips to help you narrow the college field.

This time we’re looking at which ones + when to apply.

\TIP 1:: What is your Slam Dunk, Possible, and Reach college?

A slam dunk college {non-competitive colleges} is one where you’re a shoe-in for acceptance. A possible college {competitive colleges} is one you could possibly get that acceptance letter from, and your reach college is the highly competitive, usually ivy-league school that’ll take A LOT of work to get that big envelope in your mailbox.

High school counselors encourage students to apply to one in each category. Every acceptance year is different based on the pool of applicants, but if you don’t apply, you definitely won’t get in.

Does all the college life talk sound like Charlie Brown’s wah-wah-wah talking teacher? If you don’t have a clue what you want to study, local community colleges might be the perfect fit for your first few years. No wrong answer here – it’s all about YOU.

\TIP 2:: Apply as early as possible.

Early action is applying early to your first choice school. No commitment but you’ve started the process towards going to XYZ school. Early decision however is a binding contract. We’re looking at early action for two of the schools on her list because some schools hand out their scholarships early and you don’t want to miss the money train. There’s a $1,000 or more good reasons for applying as soon as you’re sure about a college.


Sit down with a big bowl of ice cream and fill out that FAFSA! We all have-ta do it. YEP! WE ALL DO!

\TIP 4:: What scholarships does the college offer you + what other scholarships can you apply/audition for.

Questions to find out when it comes to scholarships are::

  • What is the length of the scholarship – all four years, only your first year?
  • What GPA do you have to maintain for the scholarship?
  • Can I audition for scholarships that aren’t in my major?
  • What work study scholarships are offered?

\TIP 5:: DON’T wait until the last minute

Procrastinating until 4:50 pm the night before to get your letters of recommendation, official transcripts, + ACT/SAT scores sent off is the best way TO STRESS EVERYONE OUT!

News Flash! You’re not the only one asking the counselor for these things. Do you like easy + calm or misery + frazzled? Plan ahead.

Look at that checklist you filled out from my College Life post 1.0 and highlight the top three to five colleges where you felt like you could hang your coat {or hat if you’re heading to warmer climates}.

Then get online and email your admissions contact about any lingering questions you have before you apply.

Have a few colleges you’d like to add or see again? We made a girls trip out-of the visits, came home with a new college prospect + memories I won’t soon forget::

  • Rented my first convertible {my idea – she’s the practical one}
  • Saw a movie we knew the boys wouldn’t wanna see
  • Got lost a few times + lost our car
  • Walked + talked and talked + walked
  • Captured more photos for her 2020 album

There are so many colleges out there and narrowing the contenders has been a little overwhelming at times, but she’s moving down the list and getting closer to starting applications.

Cheers & Sparkles

💖-Andrea | Shining Moments Photography

PS – There are so many things to think about when it comes to prepping for your college chapter. As a mom of a senior I have a gazillion thoughts going through my head of things we need to do + she needs to do. But each morning, before anyone gets up, with my coffee in hand, I think about what’s going PRETTY AWESOME + take this phase half-a-day at a time.

I’m in this…

You’re in this…

And we’re gonna be peachy if we keep passing college tips along to each other! So if you have a new one for me I’d love to hear it💖🎓💖

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    Shining Moments Photography | Sycamore, IL | 815.751.2247