Success Stories

Preparing for college is tough, but teens all over the country are making their college dreams a reality. These students beat the odds by preparing for college early - and you can too!


Choosing a School

Like people, colleges come in all different shapes and sizes.

Colleges can be large or small, public or private, two-year or four-year institutions, urban or rural. Some colleges teach classes in large lecture halls while others teach in small, intimate groups. Some schools offer students the opportunity to live in a sorority or fraternity house, while others require that students live on campus in the dorms. Some colleges host many sports teams while others offer service-learning opportunities.

What's most important is finding the school--and the school setting--that's right for you. See how these students found the right fit.

Noah shares the advice he gives his students about choosing a college.

Veronica tells KnowHow2GO why her college, Pepperdine University, was a great choice.

Jasmine tells KnowHow2GO how she chose the college of her dreams.

Katie tells KnowHow2GO why she choose the University of Cincinnati.

Carl tells a KnowHow2GO how he went about picking the right college for himself while still in high school.

Natasha tells KnowHow2GO why she chose Pitzer College in California when searching for the right school for her.

Allen tells KnowHow2GO why he chose to visit and research colleges close to home.

Bridgette tells KnowHow2GO which colleges she's thinking about attending after high school.

Jimmy tells KnowHow2GO about working with his high school guidance counselor to decide which schools to apply to.

Dessa tells KnowHow2GO what she was looking for in a college.

Ashley tells KnowHow2GO why she chose UCLA for college.


Finding a Mentor

A mentor is simply someone who wants you to succeed and is willing to help you along the way. Mentors enhance your confidence and offer challenges to set and achieve higher goals for yourself. Mentors encourage you to take risks and offer you recognition as you progress. Mentors can help you learn how to balance your academic and personal responsibilities.

See how mentors helped these students succeed.

Nelly tells KnowHow2GO how her mentor helped her prepare for college.

Rosie explains how her mentor inspired her love of reading.

Noah tells KnowHow2GO how he bugged everyone he knew in order to learn what he needed to do to prepare for college.

Veronica tells KnowHow2GO how her high school mentor helped her go to college and thus, changed her life.

Tasha tells KnowHow2GO how inspirational her mother was when she started thinking about college.

Jazmyne tells KnowHow2GO about all of the people who have inspired her to go to college.

Brenda tells KnowHow2GO about the importance of her mentor in preparing for college.


Paying for College

Don't let the fear of paying for college get in the way of your college dreams! There's money available to help you pay for college. But, you have to apply for it.

To give yourself the best chance for all available aid, start by completing the FAFSA - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Submitting this application gives you access to the largest pool of financial aid dollars and loans with the best terms.

See how these students paid for college.

Jasmine tells KnowHow2GO how she found scholarships to pay her way to college.

James tells KnowHow2GO why the FAFSA is helpful in paying for college.

Tasha explains what the FAFSA is and why it's so important in preparing for college.

Henry tells KnowHow2GO what kinds of activities and jobs students can undertake to save money for college.


Taking Tough Classes

Step up to the challenge by taking on the tough classes now. You need them to prepare for college. Working a little harder today will make getting into college even easier.

Make sure you take the right classes in high school. Find out what classes you need to meet college entrance requirements and sign up for them now. Most colleges require three to four years of math, English, science and social studies. Plus, most want at least two years of the same foreign language.

See how these students did it.

James tells KnowHow2GO what classes he's taking in high school to prepare for college.

Ariana tells KnowHow2GO about her strong performance in tough classes during her freshman year of high school.

Dessa tells KnowHow2GO why she chose the honors track in high school.

Johnathan tells KnowHow2GO why AP classes are so important.

Bulmaro tells KnowHow2GO that it's important to take the highest level math class you can to prepare yourself for rigorous math courses in college.

Kenya tells KnowHow2GO what she had to do to get better at Algebra II.

Kenya tells KnowHow2GO what she had to do to get better at Algebra II.

Rosie tells KnowHow2GO reporter the impact AP classes had on her readiness for college.

Veronica tells KnowHow2GO why it's so important to master a foreign language and take AP or honors classes while in high school.

Allen tells KnowHow2GO what courses he took at the honors level in high school to prepare him for tough classes in college.

Jasmine tells KnowHow2GO how AP classes prepared her for tough classes in college.

Noah tells KnowHow2GO how much he enjoyed taking math, science and history classes.

Kaye explains the difference between AP classes and regular classes.


Being First in Your Family

Congratulations! You're the first person in your family to go to college! While exciting, this accomplishment can sometimes feel daunting. Remember to take care of yourself. Your family wants you to succeed.

See how these students succeeded in being the first in their family to go to college.

Jasmine tells KnowHow2GO about being the first in her family to go to college.

Nelly tells KnowHow2GO about the hard road she faced in trying to go to college.

Natasha tells KnowHow2GO that she and her sister are the first in their family to go to college.


Selecting a Major

Simply put, a major is the specific subject area that you will specialize in. Typically, between one-third and one-half of the courses you'll take in college will be in your major or related to it.

To choose a major, first take classes that really interest you. It's easy to succeed in college when you study subjects that motivate you to learn more.

See how these students went about choosing their major.

Johnathan tells KnowHow2GO how he ended up majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Rosie tells KnowHow2GO the benefits of being a communications major in college.


Why College

Going to college is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In college, you'll have opportunities to learn about yourself and others. You'll gain many of the tools you'll need to help you succeed in your career, your community, and your life.

See what motivated these students to go to college.

Marcus tells KnowHow2GO how important it is to get a college degree if you want to make a lot of money one day.

Bertrand tells KnowHow2GO that extracurricular activities can help you prepare for college and stay focused.


Pursuing a Career

Sometimes there's a gap between identifying your interests and translating those interests into a meaningful career. Relax. You don't have to figure out the next 30 years of your life.

Think about what energizes you. Recognize your own unique gifts and talents - these are usually the things you do effortlessly. Use this knowledge to start thinking about a career that might be right for you.

See how these students are pursuing their careers.

Carl tells KnowHow2GO how he found a career in teaching after graduating from college.

Jimmy tells KnowHow2GO why he decided to become a lawyer after graduating from college.

Dorothy tells KnowHow2GO how she became a bicycle planner because of her academic experience at college.

Veronica tells KnowHow2GO about her job as a private wealth analyst, which was made possible by getting her college degree.


Other Advice

Everyone you talk to about college is going to offer their opinion. Remember, there's always more to know and it never hurts to listen.

See what other advice these students have for you.

Noah tells KnowHow2GO that every student is "destined for greatness."

Cynthia gives advice to young people who might be on the fence about going to college.


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