The “best” time to start thinking about college varies by student

A MHS freshman, sophomore, and college freshman all comment on the “ideal” time for students to start considering college if that’s a post secondary plan that fits them


DJ Gallegos

There are countless online resources for those researching colleges and solidifying their plans. MHS counselors are also great to talk to if students want college advice or help.

As some look at college as their next step following high school, it’s good to answer the question: when is the best time to start thinking about colleges?

Everyone has their own opinion and not everyone is the same. There are people who start thinking about potential colleges freshman year of high school and there are some that choose another post secondary path. Personally, I feel the ideal time to start thinking about colleges if someone is interested in college is towards the end of their high school sophomore year. 

This decision also depends on how students want to live the rest of their life and what they want to do. At the same time, the maturity level required when looking at potential universities and colleges can be stressful. Because junior year is filled with so many tests like the SAT and ACT, some argue that sophomore year is ideal to start genuinely looking at options and plans.

Genesis Werner (‘24) said that she thinks the best time to think about colleges is by the end of sophomore year because junior year is really important in terms of college preparation.

Abigail Kearns (‘25) said, “Since I am a freshman, I haven’t really had the chance to really think about my life after high school… I still have three years.” She said that her best guess for the ideal time to consider colleges would be “around the end of your sophomore year going into junior year”.

She added, “By senior year you should already be ready for college,”

Jay Torbeck, a college freshman at University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), said, “In my opinion if you want to have a career that requires a degree… a good starting time [to seriously think about college] would be between your sophomore and junior year.”

It’s important to remember that thinking about colleges doesn’t necessarily mean making set-in-stone decisions. Torbeck continued, “That doesn’t mean committing to a school that early, but start thinking about what you wanna do there and get that degree.”

Thinking about college can cause a lot of emotions. For some students, it makes them feel terrified and stressed. For others, they feel happy and excited when considering college life.

“A lot of emotions do come out when going to college or even thinking about it,” said Torbeck.

Everyone has different views towards college which means the emotions attached are going to vary. For Werner (‘24), “there is a lot of excitement” when it comes to thinking about college. “I’m getting to leave and be on my own,” she said.

But fear also comes out when Werner (‘24) considers her plans. She added, “I’m [also] really scared because I’m going to be out in the big world.” She said the most intimidating part is thinking about being “on [her] own” without her family by her side.

Kearns (‘25) said, “You can be excited to go off and do your own thing but also [scared] because you are leaving your family and meet[ing] new people.”

Torbeck commented, “I was a little excited, nervous, scared, almost a little of everything… Committing to a school was probably my hardest thing to do, especially with wanting to still be close to family but not turning down something… big.”

There are countless schools to choose from if that’s the path you’re interested in. It all really depends on your personality and goals.

For most, between sophomore and junior year seems ideal to start considering college plans, but that’s going to be different for everyone.