Plan: Is college the right choice for me?
Prepare: What can I do to get ready for college?
Pay: How will I pay for college?

Planning for College in Middle School

College is within reach ... within you!

Did you know that going to college can help you have a brighter future? Many people think they can't or shouldn't go to college, for many different reasons. But, we're here to tell you that college is an option for everyone. With some determination and effort, you can be well on your way to a college education and a glowing future.

Use the tabs below to learn about the meaning, value and benefits of a college education.

  •       Where Am I Headed?      
  •       What is College?      
  •       What Can College Do for Me?      
  •       Addressing Concerns      

Where Am I Headed?

Do you ever daydream about the future? Do you think about what you’d like to do after high school?

If you have a goal, good for you! You’re one step ahead of the game. If you haven’t decided on one yet, no worries. You don’t have to plan out the rest of your life right now. You have plenty of time to make those decisions. But, it’s never too early to start imagining the things you’ll do and the places you’ll go.

PDF of Where am I Headed Quiz opens in a new tab

One way to get started is to think about your hobbies or special interests. Use the "Where Am I Headed Quiz" to start exploring your interests and a career that may suit you. Check each activity that you may enjoy, and tally the results on the second page. After you complete the worksheet, think about your results. Do you think the results are accurate? Why or why not? Have the results given you any ideas for a career you may enjoy? If so, what is it?

Share these results with your parents. Ask them if they're surprised by the scores and discuss what you like or dislike about certain careers. Tell your parents if a certain activity listed in the interest groups sounds particularly fun or exciting. Share your concerns with them and ask for help with outlining necessary steps to feel more confident.

Next tab: "What is College?"

What is College?

Before we tell you all the reasons why college will play such an important role in your future, it may help to explain exactly what it is.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines college as:

: a school in the U.S. that you go to after high school : a school that offers courses leading to a degree (such as a bachelor's degree or an associate degree)

PDF of Types of Colleges in Oklahoma opens in a new tabWhen we say "college," we mean all types of training after high school: technology centers, trade/proprietary schools, community colleges, regional and comprehensive universities.

Types of colleges in Oklahoma

There are different types of colleges and universities, and all types can be found in Oklahoma. Learn more about different types of colleges. Have you seen any schools like these in the area where you live?

Next tab: "What Can College Do for Me?"
Previous tab: "Where Am I Headed?"

What Can College Do for Me?

What Does Your Future Hold?

Have you started to think about college yet? If not, you might want to start exploring what the future may hold for you. Here's why:

PDF of Degree vs. On-the-Job Training Chart opens in a new tab.College can open new doors.
College is very different from what you’ve experienced in middle school. It can be fun and exciting, and offer you all kinds of new experiences. College will allow you to meet new people, try new things, choose your own classes and pick the times you want to go to school. It allows you the chance to manage your own life.

Knowledge is power.
A college education helps you gain knowledge in many subjects, and you’ll pick a major so you can earn a degree in the subject area you like most. It also increases your ability to think in many different ways and to express your thoughts clearly in speech and writing. It will help you learn to make wise decisions. These skills are useful both on and off the job.

College can help you get a better job and keep it.
The economy changes quickly and many jobs will require you to have skills in the newest fields of technology. That means education after high school is a must. The skills and knowledge you’ll gain from college can help in all areas of your life by making you a more desirable employee.

College can help you make more money.
Your chances to make more money in just about any job out there will increase if you have a college degree, specialized training or certification in your field of study. College graduates have the potential to earn a lot more money during their working years than people who stop their education at the high school level. Still not convinced? Check out the Degree vs. On the Job Training chart to learn more about salaries.

Next tab: "Addressing Concerns"
Previous tab: "What is College?"

Addressing Concerns

Here are some common concerns middle school students have about going to college. Do any of these sound like something you might say?

Common Concerns:

I don't like school. Why would I want to go to college?

It's not uncommon to dislike school, but that shouldn't stop you from considering college. College is much different! In college, you have your choice of campuses, classes, professors and extracurricular activities. For many, college is a fresh start and new opportunity to discover who you are and who you want to become.

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I don't know what I want to do after high school.

Most college freshmen don't have their lives mapped out. It's OK to look at college as an opportunity to explore your likes, dislikes and talents. By taking different types of classes and exploring new activities, you might be surprised by what you learn about yourself.

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College is too expensive. There's no way I can afford it.

Oklahoma public colleges and universities are among the most affordable in the nation. College does cost in terms of tuition, books and time, but it's a smart investment in your future. Very few people get a full ride to college (all college expenses paid in full); that's why there's financial aid. Financial aid comes in many forms, including grants, scholarships, work-study and student loans. If getting an education is your goal, there are financial aid options to help you along the way. Learn more about paying for college by clicking the green "Pay" button above.

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I'm just in middle school. Why should I think about college now?

No matter what you think about your future, education plays a very important part! As a middle school student, you should know it’s never too early to start looking ahead. Middle school is a steppingstone into high school. Your success now and all through your high school years will help as you enter your next phase of life, college!

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No one in my family has ever gone to college, so I shouldn't go either.

If you're the first person to go to college in your family, you should know that you're not alone. While the prospect of college can be both scary and exciting, colleges are expertly staffed to help the many first-generation college students at your school. Not only will college help you on the path to a bright future, your achievements in and beyond college may also be a source of pride for your family.

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I'm afraid I won't fit in.

Each and every college is different from one another. Instead of worrying about fitting in at a college, focus on finding the school that best suits you and your unique needs.

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Previous tab: "What Can College Do for Me?"

Helpful Tools

PDF of Degree vs. On-the-Job Training opens in a new tab
Degree vs. On-the-Job Training
PDF of Oklahoma's Promise flyer opens in a new tab
Oklahoma's Promise Flyer
PDF of What Do You Want to Be opens in a new tab
Ask Your School Counselor Worksheet
PDF of Where am I Headed Quiz opens in a new tab
Where Am I Headed? Quiz