If you’ve decided to go to information technology or computer science school, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step. But making the decision is just the beginning. Before you can start, you’ll need to research institutions, meet all requirements, submit applications, and figure out financial aid.
- Research Schools
Your first step is to find out what schools you might want to attend. You should, ideally, consider factors such as location, campus resources, majors offered, accreditation, and tuition rates when determining where you want to go. There are a number of ways to conduct this research. Perhaps the easiest way is to search for schools and explore the institutions’ websites, specifically looking at information geared toward students, such as academic programs. You can also call and speak to an admissions advisor or academic counselor, or you might set up an appointment to join an information session or take a campus tour. And if you have friends currently in college and/or who have gone through this process before, it can never hurt to ask their advice.
- Make Sure You Meet All Admission Requirements
Most schools have a list of requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for admission to the institution. For example, many colleges mandate that you be sixteen or older before being admitted, and that you have either a high school diploma, a general education development (GED) certificate, or have completed a home schooling program to the school’s satisfaction. You will probably be asked to submit either your high school transcripts, your GED scores, or a letter from a state authority to prove your eligibility in this capacity. If for whatever reason there is confusion or doubt, you may be asked to present additional verification, such as a high school diploma. There may be additional or altered requirements for certain groups of students, such as those who are members of the U.S. military.
- Fill out the Application and Documentation
The first official step you will take toward starting school is submitting your application for admission. Most schools offer applications online now, which you can access by going to the institutions’ websites and following the appropriate links. Applications typically ask questions about your high school or previous college experience, your extracurricular commitments, and volunteer experience, as well as other personal details about yourself. You’ll also have to submit other requested documentation, such as transcripts from your high school or previous college and test scores. If you haven’t yet taken the ACT, SAT, or TOEFL, you can find information online about how to sign up for these tests.
- Find out about Financial Aid
Hopefully, by this point you already know how much you will have to pay in tuition in order to attend the schools to which you are applying. Don’t necessarily feel discouraged by the tuition rates if they are a little out of your budget. A lot of people get help from the state and federal governments to pay for school. A lot of institutions also offer incentives in the way of private scholarships that are awarded to students on the basis of need and/or merit. Go and speak to someone in the financial aid office at your school to learn how you can apply for scholarships, and fill out the government-issued FAFSA to take advantage of grants and loans.