Enrolling in college: from the application to financial aid


In the 1990s, college students prepared for college in a vastly different way than college students do in 2018. There were no laptops required for classes. Notes were taken on notebook paper, with pencils and pens and highlighters and post-it notes. Cell phones didn’t have FaceTime. Mom had to come to campus to see her college kid. Registration was done in a registrar’s office full of other students, because there were no online webpages to select and confirm classes. Computers had to be rented in the computer lab to write papers or print homework and rarely appeared inside dorms like laptops do today. Google Scholar didn’t exist to do research, but the librarians were more than happy to spend hours helping compile those tricky sources. There was no way to contact a professor, other than attending office hours. Spotify didn’t play music at parties, but remix CDs kept them just as loud. Today, all of those things are different and have changed and will continue to differ and change.


In the 1990s, a college degree weighed heavier than it does today. A high school diploma landed an 18 year- old a job that paid more than enough to get by. Top level jobs could be fulfilled with a four- year degree. Today, not so much. A four-year degree is the new requirement for basic entry-level positions. Even experience in a field isn’t enough to land a job today. Figuring out which college to attend is the first step in the long process to making it there. Tuition costs, scholarships that are available, financial aid packages that are offered by the university, dorm fees for living in dorms on campus, graduation rates, transfer rates, length of time for the average student to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, class and campus size, athletic clubs or teams, majors offered, and location of a college are just some of the different topics to think about before choosing a college. Partnering with friends, family, school counselors, and teachers will ensure that the questions to those answers and major decisions are discovered before it’s too late to apply or accept an offer of admission.


Once a university accepts an application of admission, there are various steps before enrollment and the beginning of classes. Financial aid and scholarships must be taken into consideration to determine the out-of-pocket cost that a university will run each year. These estimates are sent along with or shortly thereafter an acceptance of admission letter. The cost of education is the top concern for college aged- students and their parents. It is a tough decision to make, whether to take on the debt for the education or find a cheaper school to settle for. Whatever decision, once the acceptance letter comes in and a final decision has been made, visit the campus- even if it’s the second or third visit. Make sure that this is the correct decision and after the visit is over, send in the formal acceptance of admission offer.

In the remaining months before it’s time to pack the car and move out, there will be shopping lists and gifts to open. In 2018, technology changes what seems like every few months. There are Pinterest lists to guide the packing process and advice from older college aged friends to help it go by smoothly. Essentials needed are the obvious: clothes for different seasons, shoes, a backpack that carries the expensive books that classes will require, shampoo and conditioner, decorations for those bare and atrocious walls, and more. Technology also means more money for technologically advanced products, like noise-cancelling headphones for long nights spent writing papers, a laptop lock, a portable charger to keep your laptop on throughout those long days, a cell phone signal booster for those spots on campus and in the dorm rooms where service seems to be nonexistent, and more. A master list broken up into categories will help keep the process of packing somewhat organized.


After the packing is completed and has been sitting in the living room corner for days on end, it’ll be time to go. Whether a plane ride hours away or a car ride to the next town over, the travel to campus will feel endless. Unpacking will take hours, and may include climbing up a lot of stairs in the late summer heat, but once it’s all there, the next stage of life will begin. Parents will leave, siblings will feel heart pangs about parting, roommates and dorm resident assistants will chatter and make small talk. In a few days, classes will begin again and summer will end. All of the preparation over the last six months will bring relief in the form of naps, Netflix, and welcome week activities. Friends will be made, parties will be busted, and the college life will really start.

Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life. You can contact Anton via email at antonlucanus@gmail.com



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