Myths about college

"You have to be rich to attend a private university."
Financial aid programs help many moderate to low-income families afford even expensive schools.

"You should know what you want to study before you apply."
It's okay to enter college "undecided." Most colleges encourage you to sample a range of subjects before selecting a major. However, if you attend a college of engineering, music, or other school focusing on specialized courses, you might have to make an early career decision.

"You must find the perfect college."
The perfect college probably doesn't exist. To select the right school for you, thoroughly research several colleges online, in person, and through discussions with its administrators, faculty and students.

"Applying for financial aid hurts your chances for admission."
Most colleges do not let financial ability affect admission decisions.

"Colleges consider only an applicant's grades and test scores."
Colleges also examine the rigor of your classes, competitiveness of your school, and upward or downward trends in your grades. Your application essay, interview, extracurricular and leadership activities, talent and personal character are also very important. In fact, straight-A students with perfect test scores don't always get into their first-choice college.

"If I don't get into a selective four year college right out of high school, there's no way I can attend later."
Thousands of students attend less competitive colleges or community colleges for a year or two before transferring to a selective four-year school.

Back to How to Prepare - High School Students
Back to How to Prepare - Adults