A new year always brings about changes for most people. Whether good or bad, big or small, change is inevitable. The transition from high school to college is one of the major changes many of us experience in our lifetimes, and let’s face it, this change can be intimidating. From saving up, filling out an abundance of applications, to stressing over the joys of test-taking, you will quickly begin to realize what a significant change college can be. But, don’t let the intimidation get to you, because college is one of the best changes you can make! Hopefully these three tips for preparing for college can help you get prepared to tackle college in 2020.

1. Save Up Some Bucks

College is expensive, and although there is financial aid that can help you cover the cost, there’s still things you can do on your own to help financially prepare. According to one article, Chris Muller presents 7 tips to save for college before you get there, and a major helpful tip he suggests is to bring in as much income as possible. You can do this by working summers, part-time, or even odd jobs. It may even be helpful to just kick it old-school, dig up that dusty piggy bank sitting in your closet and start collecting loose change and dollar bills. Saving any little bit on your own can help!

2. Applying, Applying and More Applying

Every current or former college student will tell you that filling out many applications during your initiation into the collegiate world is a must, starting with the very first applications into your choice universities. Once you have thoroughly researched colleges, and perhaps took a tour at a few of them, now you are ready to start applying. According to Dr. Patrick O’Connor, “most colleges admit nearly two-thirds of the students who apply.” If you apply on time, send in all the right information, and have good grades, then you’re pretty much set.

After the major application is successfully completed, and you get accepted, the next step is applying for federal student aid (FAFSA). Although it sounds overwhelming, FAFSA is a simple student financial aid package that will often include grants, work-study, student loans, etc. It will ultimately help you financially get through your college experience. In addition, there are many types of student scholarships you can apply for. If you’ve excelled in high school, you stand a pretty solid chance of being awarded a scholarship.

3. Prepare for the Test

Obviously colleges want to see your academic performance before they let you in. It’s important solidify your academic skills before they are put to the test. Whether it be the ACT or SAT, these college admission exams are essential to get into your dream school. Practicing and studying core concepts are great ways to get prepared for the test. Test-prep courses are also great tools for a successful test-taking experience. Although some of these courses can be expensive, others provide free study guides and test questions. (Check out the practice tests provided by the College Board and Khan Academy!) Luckily, while looking for any free or low-cost college entrance exam study-guides, the internet is always your best friend. Check out our tips on preparing for college entrance exams here.

Sometimes the initial entry process into college is the most tedious part. Once you’re done with the initial process, it’s smooth sailing from there! But, hopefully, these three basic tips centered around the initiation process has boosted your confidence in entering your college journey. Once you save up some money, successfully complete all required applications and complete your exams, you can start focusing on all the great things college has to offer.