What I wish I had done after I applied to college

Kathleen Kelley
5 min readDec 5, 2020


You got accepted into the college of your choice! Or at least you got accepted to a college! You have planned all the things they say you should and can sit back and relax… wait, what? You can’t? There is more to do? What else is there to do?

Despite what people may say there is more to do besides a tour or financial aid that you should do before you start college, especially, but not exclusively, if don’t know what you want to major in.

Most articles regarding college and application time talk about certain things again and again. That is how I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this is going to be the same old article you read again and again how I wish I had applied for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) sooner, how I wish I had kept my grades up, joined more activities to show I was engaged and a long list of things that I won’t be writing about.

This is not that article. This article is about what I wish I had done after I had applied to college, but it goes deeper. Once I had applied (and knew where my parents decided I was going), I wish I had planned out my two years at the junior college I was attending.

I am once again not talking about activities and all that, but even if I didn’t know what I wanted to major in I wish I had planned something. At college if you’re unsure you can start an Associate’s degree in General Studies. They have two available usually, an Associate of Arts (AA) and an Associate of Science (AS).

I’m not sure how this doesn’t happen more or maybe isn’t talked about more outside of the internet but you need to plan what to take every semester. Make sure to take as many classes as possible at any point it time so you’re not in college and feeling like a failure because your old classmates and friends have a degree and you do not.

I just happened to land in Associate of Arts which was fine but if I had known that, I would have taken time during my summer after high school yet before college, to plan out my first and second year by semester. I might have still only gotten three classes the first semester, which would have been fine, but I could have taken two or three during the summer. Even at least taking one class during summer would have been better than none. I thought after a semester I deserved time off from school and it’s not like I wasn’t doing anything; I had a job. However, if I had known then what I knew now I would have taken 2 or 3 classes then and signed up for 4 during fall or something along those lines.

What I did:
First semester: 3 classes

Second semester: 4 classes with one lab

Summer: none

Third semester: 4 classes with one lab

Fourth Semester: 4 classes with one lab

Summer: 4 classes (I had to withdraw from two. One I did not understand and could not for the life of me. Had it been in person or I had any help whatsoever I might have been able to do it but I didn’t. The other was Texas Government and I never had the easiest time with Government. Texas Government is hard, so hard even my teacher said it was hard).

Fifth Semester: 5 classes

Hadn’t applied to a University because I wasn’t sure how well I would do.

What I would have done:

Summer before class signup: I would have gone to see a counselor VERY early on. When I had gone there was an extremely long line and I waited for hours and hours and never saw one, eventually giving up. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do they would have probably directed me to a general studies degree and I would have signed up for probably three courses again as I couldn’t find anything and it was all new to me. However I would have signed up for two or three easy courses in the summer, making up the fact I signed up for few in the fall. I would have then signed up for the four classes I signed up for before in the first spring semester the same way.

First semester (fall): Same as before because I don’t think I could have gotten more.

Second semester: Same

Summer: Three classes that were easy that I still needed so that I could get them out of the way but had more of my degree done.

Third semester: Same but instead I would have stayed in the same type of class and lab I had taken before.

Fourth semester: Five classes

This may not be extremely precise since I am not a college counselor but I could have then applied to spring graduation after two years and not wasted a summer and another semester in junior college. I wish I had figured out sooner that summer classes may be a drag but it helps graduate you sooner.

I would have also gone to see a counselor once a semester. I went and saw one more than some people most likely, but I could have seen them more. Even if they didn’t really help as far as this maybe if I had gone more and had a guide to break down college like I do here I would have graduated on time (or at least closer to when I should have) like other people others my own age instead of where I am currently.

During my last semester, no matter what my grades were, I would have applied for a four year university. I didn’t apply during my last semester because I was unsure about how well I would do in one course, but looking back I would have applied then. It’s better to have applied, not done well in a course and redo it the next semester and apply again than to do well and have to wait because of the time you applied at.



Kathleen Kelley

I am a college student who works at a grocery store. I am majoring in journalism. I write about personal finance, college and things I wish I knew in life.