Starting Your College Search in 3 Easy Steps
When it comes to starting the college search, we know it can be intimidating. We get it, you have a TON of options – there are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States alone! And while having choices is great, we know it can also be a bit overwhelming. It’s like logging into Netflix and spending 20 minutes deciding what to watch. Yep, we’ve all been there. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to begin narrowing down your list and creating your “short list” of schools.
STEP 1: Ask yourself some questions.
Before you begin researching specific colleges, it’s helpful to take a step back and answer some basic questions about what you want in your future school. Start by tackling one or two of these questions a day and before you know it, you’ll be half way there!
STEP 2: The Process of Elimination
Once you’ve answered the questions and have your ideal school sketched out, it’s time to see which colleges measure up. Be sure to check out the college websites to get a feel for their curriculum, communications style and what campus itself looks like. You’ll also want to check out their social profiles as well as some of the student run accounts to see what life looks like from the inside. Another great place to start? Google. You’ll find a host of schools that pop up by searching key words that are relevant to you. Finally, the links below offer comprehensive listings of colleges and schools in the United States. All of them provide different filters to narrow your search — set these to match the parameters you identified in the previous step, and you’ll soon have a starter list of colleges you should apply to!
STEP 3: Is it the real thing? Prioritize and visit!
Now that you’ve got a solid starting point, it’s time for the heavy lifting. Find out the options available to help you get to know your tops schools even better. If a college doesn’t offer something you consider “non-negotiable”— a major you’re intent on studying, or a sport you’d really like to keep playing — you can cross it off your list and whittle down your options. If a school looks like a great fit on paper, schedule a campus visit to learn more. If at all possible, you should always try to visit your top-choice schools. There’s no better way to get a true feel for what a school is really like than by actually walking through campus. Soon, you’ll have your “short list” of schools and can get started on applications!