Planning for Your Future

Alfred State College would like to give you some information which we hope will be useful as you take important steps to plan for your future.

Why Should I go to College?

There are two basic reasons why everyone should plan on some type of additional education or training beyond high school.

  • To Get a Job - Almost all jobs now require additional education beyond high school. And even for those jobs where college is not absolutely necessary, chances are the person without a college degree will be competing against people with a college degree. Think about it — if you were hiring someone and one person had a college degree and the other person didn’t, whom would you hire?
  • Money, Money, Money - It’s a fact! The person with a college degree can expect to earn much more money over his/her lifetime than the person without a college degree. The chart below shows this best:
 No College DegreeWith 4-year College DegreeAnnual Difference
Expected Starting Salary$14,872$49,224$34,352
Salary in 20 Years
Assuming 5% Raise per Year
$26,860$88,904$62,044
Salary in 40 Years
Assuming 5% Raise per Year
$48,512$160,570$112,058

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What Can I Do Right Now to Prepare?

In addition to taking strong academic courses, studying, and working hard to get the best grades possible, there are several things you can be doing now to ensure a successful college career:

Choose a Career

Your first step is to think about what you like and what type of person you are - do you like math? science? English? the keyboarding class you're taking this year? Do you prefer doing things by yourself or do you prefer working with people? Do you like working outside or would you prefer an office job? Are you good with numbers? Do you like paperwork?

  • Talk with family members, friends, and people in the community about the jobs they're doing. Do any of their jobs interest you?
  • Review reference books which give specific information on careers. A good one to look through is the Occupational Outlook Handbook which is available in most guidance offices, libraries, and on the Web.
  • Job shadow someone who is currently working in the career(s) which sounds interesting to you. This is a great way to find out what it's actually like to work in a particular job and will help to confirm for you whether it's something you're interested in.
  • Research what type of educational background or training is necessary to work in your chosen area(s).

Begin Researching Colleges

You'll find that there are many colleges out there. Your focus now should be on collecting and sorting through as much information on colleges as possible. Ways to do this include:

  • Talking with your school counselor and looking at college Web sites. Reference books are also available in the guidance office and library.
  • Attending college night programs in your area. Representatives from many colleges gather in one location to talk with interested students. It's a great way to begin collecting information on colleges.
  • Asking to be put on college mailing lists. This can be done at college night programs or by writing to a specific college for information.
  • Attending college open house programs. This is a good opportunity to actually spend some time on college campuses and get a feel for a particular college.

Become Involved in School or Community Activities

Although your schoolwork should be your first priority, there are many advantages to becoming involved in outside activities. Many colleges take this into consideration when making admission decisions. It's also a great way to learn about various activities which might help you in selecting a career, and it can be a lot of fun!

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What Academic Preparations Should I Consider?

What you're doing now will have a big effect on what you can do later! Therefore, it's important to make the most of your time in school. Please note that colleges have different entrance requirements for each individual program. But in order to keep all options open, we recommend you take the following courses in high school:

English
Four years of composition and literature designed for college preparatory students.
Mathematics
Math A and B (algebra, geometry, and trigonometry). Pre-calculus is also recommended if you are a strong math student and if pre-calculus is required for your chosen college major.
Science
Earth science, biology, and chemistry. Physics is also recommended if you are a strong science student and if physics is required for your chosen college major.
Foreign Language
Three years of the same foreign language.
Elective Area
Technology, business, or other courses to supplement your schedule.

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