You should begin the college search by getting to know yourself. How do you learn best? What are your favorite subjects? Take a personality test like the Myers-Briggs or Keirsey Temperament assessment and learn more about your personality. Explore careers and majors. Then you look for a college that will fit you. If you want to know your professors, have class discussions, and want to learn about a variety of topics, you will probably be looking for a smaller, liberal arts school. If team spirit means a lot to you, if lecture halls and note taking don’t bother you, you may want to look at large universities. Always begin with YOU.
I believe a student should have a Career Path which justifies the Major Course of Study and this assists us in filtering Colleges according to their ability to help us achieve our career goals.
In order to find a good college first, everyone should establish a College Board search engine/ account if you have not already. Once you have done this, you can do college searches on this site and save them. Plus this account can be used to register for exams. www.collegeboard.com
The best way to begin a college search is by taking a tour of multiple schools that represent a wide cross section. A group tour is a great place to begin your college search. When I take students on a tour they follow a curriculum that combines the elements of fit with experiential learning. Students who visit a variety of schools will be able to work with their college counselors to build a list of schools. Families may choose to accompany their students on select campus visits after the student has determined which schools will be the best possible match.
Students should begin by looking within. The sage advice: “Know Thyself” (in the Greek gnothi seauton) is the applicant’s most powerful currency in the college process. You can think about fit attributes all day long, but if a student has no idea whom he or she is, what are his or her values, strengths and passions, the goal of finding the best match is vacuous.
In order to differentiate oneself from the sea of other applicants, self-knowledge is critical.
Typically, the college search and application process begins in earnest during a student’s junior year. To begin the college process, try a “template trip.” Template trips offer students the opportunity to try out different college sizes (large, small), types (research, liberal arts), and settings (suburban, urban) in one trip. Some families may create a template trip in their home state, city, or region to minimize travel expenses. While other families may allow the student to choose the destination for a long-weekend trip and explore a new city’s neighborhoods via college campuses. Broadening the search process to ‘template’ schools enables students to focus on appealing attributes of a college rather than on specific institutions.
Parents set the tone for their children’s academic success. Making education a priority for your children instills a lust for learning that stays with them throughout their lives.
Gather information about the colleges you’re interested in. Talk with your friends, family, counselor, teachers and the college itself. Learn what the college is really like. It takes time, effort, a little money and a good deal of research, but every contact moves you closer to a better decision. Tour nearby colleges either alone or with friends. No interview or guided tour just spend time on various campuses. Get a feel for the kind of place you like.
The right college should provide enough “match” to be comfortable, with enough “mix” to expand your horizons. To grasp what this means, compare your present like and education with what you are ready to do next.
The college search can be overwhelming initially. Take it one step at a time, starting early enough so you aren’t pressured. Independent educational consultants, college fairs, guidance offices, campus tours/info sessions, family and friends, guidebooks (The Insider’s Guide), websites (Unigo!) all serve a purpose in the quest for information. If you are self directed and motivated, go for it. Some folks need a little more direction to get in the groove. Having a sense of large vs. small enrollment, public vs. private institution, rural/urban/suburban campus, and major of study can help narrow down the options. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what comes first. Just dive in and eventually you will create a context in which to compare all the information as you collect it.
While the question of where to start the college search usually leads to thoughts of websites, friends, and guidebooks, in fact the place to start is with oneself. This is because central to the process is a thoughtful self-evaluation of who one is and what they want in their college experience. For some it is all about very specific programs while others are more focused on the nature of the experience. But regardless of where the emphasis lies, the student needs to give it some serious thought and make a real effort to answer the question for oneself. As always it is about finding the right individual fit and as a result, asking and answering the questions about what you really want is the place to start. Once you have at least tentative answers to those questions, then any of countless resources, beginning with the internet, can move you in the right direction.
A colleague asked me that question this morning. Seems the young man she is working with is “not working up to his potential”. I see this so often that I am dropping everything to write about this very important topic.
The first step is self-knowledge. Have you thought about your learning style, your academic abilities, your career orientation, your preferences for academic/social balance, your financial needs, geographic preferences? Have you visited any local colleges or universities to discover what you like and dislike about their size, campus culture, rural or urban location or any of the myriad other aspects of a college campus? You should begin with these basics and then start to explore college options.
The place to start the core process of building your college list is by taking an objective look at your high school record. You want to be realistic about your strengths and challenges as an applicant so that you’ll wind up with an application list of colleges across a range of selectivity — but where you have a chance of admission.
Going to another country for university studies is a very mature decision, and the most important step of the decision process is to know exactly why you’re doing it. When I ask this question to my students in Brazil, them simply saying that they want to go to a ‘prestigious’ school in another country is not a good answer. When I hear them say this, I tell them they need to re-evaluate why they want to study abroad in the first place. That’s because a college education isn’t a pair of designer jeans or a handbag, but rather, it’s a commitment to self-improvement and a launch pad to future personal and professional success. The first step to this commitment is knowing why you want to go.
Sit down and talk with your school counselor and parents about what you are looking for in a college…size, location, setting, majors, activities, sports, distance from home, selectvitiy, etc. After you have determined some of the most important factors, use a search engine such as the one offered on UNIGO.com or collegeboard.com. Sometimes, you will discover the perfect school for you, is one you haven’t heard of or do not know much about. Using a search engine gives you a more global perspective on college options.
Junior year is probably a good time for most students to begin thinking about college in earnest. However, in terms of college preparation and building up your academic record, I feel that 9th grade is when students need to really think about time management, academic diligence, and personal accountability.
I think geographic factors are the primary ones (weather, urban vs suburban etc). Start off with a large circle due to geographic factors, then shrink it down using other factors such as majors, size of school, public vs. private etc.
There are many factors to consider when searching for colleges. Size, distance from home, available majors, opportunities for internships, and your chances of playing a sport you love are just a few of the things to think about. When you’re ready to make a college list, make a list of the criteria that are important to you. Next, choose the one or two items on your list that are deal breakers. For example, if you absolutely must be able to study criminology, then that’s your deal breaker. Use your deal breaker to begin your search. That is, begin by looking for all of the schools that offer criminology. Once you’ve got a list of schools offering criminology, beginning narrowing your list with the other criteria you identified.
students should consider to use a worksheet as part of the college search. some online tools are also good for selecting the names and locations as initial search purpose. in the end, students may work with his or her counselor to understand the details of the most important aspects of the college search.
Despite all the hype about the difficulty of getting into college, it is important to begin your search by remembering that you are choosing colleges as much as they are choosing you. Think about your parameters: size, location, specific academic interests, cost, housing, sports, etc. The more you know about yourself; your learning style, social comfort zone, etc. the better you will be able to find your college matches. And remember there are many colleges that will suit you and want you.
There are so many places to find information about colleges and universities that it can be quite confusing. In my opinion, however, the best place to begin the college search is with the student him/herself. Students should give much thought to their own strengths, weaknesses, and interests. In what kind of environment do they feel most comfortable? How would they like to stretch themselves? How successful have they already been academically? With what combination of academics, extracurricular activities, and social life do they want to surround themselves for the duration of their university studies? When students better understand themselves, their needs, and their motivations, they are better able to focus on the institutions which would be the best fit among the vast number of options available. Accessing information about those institutions would be the next step.
In a perfect world students should begin their college search with their counselor. We do not live in a perfect world. In a public school setting meeting with your counselor to discuss college plans is extremely difficult. So the next best thing is to access web sites that provide college searches. We use both College Board and ACT college searches to help our students. These sites are easy to maneuver and provide plenty of choices to help students with college selection. Students can search broad categories for initial searches and then narrow their choices to reduce the number of colleges.
Before students begin the college search, my advice would be to make a list of all the things you think you want out of a college experience. For instance, strong academics, sports, residential campus, Greek life, etc. Try to be as thorough as possible while also considering your goals. Once you have compiled this list, then start searching for colleges via college-search sites like Unigo to begin finding colleges that have the things you are looking for.
Before you do anything you need to ask yourself some questions.
By asking themselves what they would like to study – “undecided” is fine, but what might they want to study? What else should be available on campus: what sports, arts, activities? What kind of school environment will support them best, both intellectually and emotionally? Once students have a sense of what kind of college and what sort of programs would offer the best next step in education, it’s time to look at the guides and search engines to find out which colleges provide those.
Visiting different kinds of colleges, even just drive throughs: small/large; public/private; urban/rural. Read guide books. Talk to graduates.
Inside! Start with your own imagination and expectations. Imagine yourself as a college student. How are you learning and studying? What are you doing? What is it like around you? What are the other students like? How do you want to change in college? What will help you do that? Try to make your perhaps blurry expectations about college come a bit more into focus — then start ‘searching’ for the many schools that match well with what you have discovered.
Beginning a college search can appear to be overwhelming! There is just so much information out there. If you check on the PSAT/SAT “Yes” to I would like to receive information on colleges, then The College Board has your permission to sell your name and contact info to hundreds of schools. So, it should not be much of a surprise that your mailbox will soon not be big enough to contain all those very glossy brochures and viewbooks, all having incredibly attractive students on the cover and the sun is always shining!! Clearly what the schools will be sending you is beautifully written and photographed propaganda- a great sales pitch, but not the best place to begin your journey. Where you need to begin, and this is more difficult than skimming thru guidebooks or websites is to begin asking yourself the “tough” questions. This requires some deep reflection. “What would it take to make me happy”? ‘Would I prefer a large urban school with lots of energy and opportunities or a smaller private school, perhaps in rural location, which might have a stronger sense of campus community and where I could ski?” “Do I know what I want to study?” ‘How far from home would I feel comfortable going?” “Am I looking for schools with a strong sports culture and Greek life or do I prefer a campus whose culture is more focused on the Arts?” Is Religion a factor? Weather? Clearly you need to begin by coming up, at least initially, with a profile of the type of environment that would make you the happiest. Then as you continue your research you need to be honest with yourself as to where your academic profile (grades and test scores) fits with the schools that you would want to attend- that is where you then reach for the guidebooks and websites!
spend some time to think hard about what type of schools you will do well with no major change on yourself.
pick the type of schools that really focus on undergraduate study and programs
find out what kind of experiences you suppose to have throughout your college period.
The Search should begin with the most important piece of the puzzle–YOU THE STUDENT. We–the counselor, the parents, everyone need to focus on who the student is–their personality, their interests or traits, and other characteristics like
values and skills.
The best place to start, but not end your college search, is to use guide books and rankings. But use both to narrow your choices and get further information from other sources.
The most important step of the college search process is to know exactly why you’re even doing it. When I ask this question to my students in Brazil, them simply saying that they want to go to a ‘prestigious’ school is not a good answer. When I hear them say this, I tell them they need to re-evaluate why they want to go to college in the first place. That’s because a college education isn’t a pair of designer jeans or a handbag, but rather, it’s a commitment to self-improvement and a launch pad to future personal and professional success. The first step to the process is knowing why you want to go.
Figure out what it is that you want in a college. Do you want to be in a city, suburb, rural? Big school, small school, medium school? How far are you willing to go away to school? What does the ideal campus look like in your head? That is where I would start. After you figure those things out, then begin looking at your potential majors. Which schools offer the major that I want? Do those schools match what I want in a University or College? Then visit those schools that match your goals and wishes. After visiting you begin to understand which colleges will be right fit for you and which ones won’t.
Finding an entry point into the overwhelming and often confusing college search process can daunting. The extensive selection of books and how-to guides can leave you completely bewildered, however. While they can offer some helpful advice, the truth of the matter is that these books cannot do the real hard work that awaits you. Getting started with the college process means doing something that you might be unfamiliar with: introspection. Think about the kind of education you would like and the kind of place where you would want to be. How far do you want to go? What kind of climate do you want? What sort of learning environment would be most conducive to your success; seminars around a table or a large lecture hall? Do you want to be around people of a similar background as you or in a more diverse population? These are only a sample of the dozens of questions you should be mulling over. This exercise in “checking in” with yourself will not only make college decisions much clearer, but will be an invaluable tool to you in all the big life decisions with which you will be faced.
Finding an entry point into the overwhelming and often confusing college search process can daunting. The extensive selection of books and how-to guides can leave you completely bewildered, however. While they can offer some helpful advice, the truth of the matter is that these books cannot do the real hard work that awaits you. Getting started with the college process means doing something that you might be unfamiliar with: introspection. How far do you want to go? What kind of climate do you want? What sort of learning environment would be most conducive to your success; seminars around a table or a large lecture hall? Do you want to be around people of a similar background as you or in a more diverse population? These are only a sample of the dozens of questions you should be mulling over. This exercise in “checking in” with yourself will make college decisions much clearer.
Finding an entry point into the overwhelming and often confusing college search process can daunting. There are countless books and websites vowing to unlock the golden secret of how to “get in. The extensive selection of books and how-to guides can leave you completely bewildered, however. While they can offer some helpful advice, the truth of the matter is that these books cannot do the real hard work that awaits you. Getting started with the college process means doing something that you might be unfamiliar with: introspection. Think about the kind of education you would like and the kind of place where you would want to be. Location often becomes a pivotal factor in guiding the college selection process. How far do you want to go? What kind of climate do you want? What sort of learning environment would be most conducive to your success; seminars around a table or a large lecture hall? Do you want to be around people of a similar background as you or in a more diverse population? These are only a sample of the dozens of questions you should be mulling over. This exercise in “checking in” with yourself will not only make college decisions much clearer, but will be an invaluable tool to you in all the big life decisions with which you will be faced.
Finding an entry point into the overwhelming and often confusing college search process can daunting. The extensive selection of books and how-to guides can leave you completely bewildered, however. While they can offer some helpful advice, the truth of the matter is that these books cannot do the real hard work that awaits you. Getting started with the college process means doing something that you might be unfamiliar with: introspection. Think about the kind of education you would like and the kind of place where you would want to be. Location often becomes a pivotal factor in guiding the college selection process. How far do you want to go? What kind of climate do you want? What sort of learning environment would be most conducive to your success; seminars around a table or a large lecture hall? Do you want to be around people of a similar background as you or in a more diverse population? These are only a sample of the dozens of questions you should be mulling over. This exercise in “checking in” with yourself will not only make college decisions much clearer, but will be an invaluable tool to you in all the big life decisions with which you will be faced.
Students should start the search from within. What I mean by that is that students should start with the old ‘what do I want to be when I grow up’ question. They don’t need to answer it directly. In fact, they should expect that their answer will evolve over time. But they should have an idea of what excites them – what academic subjects, what potential careers, what extra-curricular activities and what type of school – big/small, rural/urban, far from home/close to home.
The college search always starts with YOU! Before you begin looking for your best fit colleges, you have to understand yourself. Start by answering these questions: Who am I? What are my strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, interests and passions? What do I want to study? Where do I want to live for the next four to six years? What kind of academic environment works best for me? How will I get involved on a college campus? What can I afford? What do I hope to gain from the college experience? Once you have the answers to these questions, try a few college search engines to see what schools pop up. Pick some colleges that interest you from the generated lists and start your research.
Student need to begin with themselves and serious soul-searching. They need to ask themselves many questions and even if they are not ready with answers to all the questions, thinking about these questions will provide preliminary information for future decision-making. Many counselors, guide books and websites provide these questions, such as: How far away from home do I want to study? Am I looking for a particular location, such as urban, suburban, rural? Climate? What is the difference between a liberal arts college, research university, state college and how do these definitions fit into my plan? What do I want to study? What career do I have in mind at this time? Since many students are undecided, are there numerous career/major options available? How do I feel about class size – small vs. lecture halls? Will my family be able to afford this college? What percentage of students received enough financial aid to attend? I have found that in the beginning of the college search, some of these questions students have not thought about yet and do not have immediate answers. As they start the discussion with their parents and other significant adult advisers, along with some college research and perhaps a visit or two to a college campus, they start to formulate preferences which propels them on their journey.
High school seniors: Look into the colleges and universities in your city or town first, and submit those admissions applications right away. Then start looking for more colleges and universities in other areas of the state or country you are interested in, and get those applications in before their application deadline. Visiting the colleges and universities closest to you that you can drive to or take a bus to get there. If you go out of town for any reason, and there is a college or university in the city you are visiting, go check it out to see if you are interested.
With themselves. All too often we tend to look at issues through the eyes of others and fancy that perspective to be our own. Wrong! We are unique in terms of our wants, needs and preferences. When looking at prospective institutions where we might spend the next four or five years and grow up in the process, we should begin with investigating what we are all about. What makes us happy, fulfilled, excited and successful? Under what conditions are we at our best? What’s our idea of fun? If we pay attention to the answers to these and other personal questions, we can begin to get a sense of the characteristics we might seek in a college or university. In other words. what works for us, not the other way around.
On the internet, in the counselors office on UNIGO, anywhere that they trust the information and they are not being dismissed for needing to know.
If you have determined your career path, or have a general idea, try to find a college that has a good reputation by contacting firms that are prospective employers in that area. If you have not determined your major, make a list of items that are important to you, such as: location, cost, living arrangements, urban or rural, athletic events, support services available, entrance requirements… Research Colleges and Universities on-line to find matches, then contact their admissions office for further information.
Think of the college search as a funneling process. You will most likely start with a large number of schools and by narrowing down your preferences (size, location, majors offered, etc.) you will see your number shrink to something more manageable. There are many interenet sites that can help with this, and as most students have a college board account, I would recommend this as a good starting point. As you learn more about what you want in a college you can refine your search. College visits, regardless of your interest in a college are a good way to learn about the difference between large v. small; conservatory v. traditiional; private v. public.
As a counselor, I always advise that students in the 10th through 12th grade begin with their high school counselor. If a student has already graduated, he or she can go back to their high school to ask if their previous counselor would be willing to meet with them to discuss future college interests. If that does not work; students can search online for the nearest college to assist them with career choice selections. Students should also consult with their parents to seek advice as well. I often suggest that students select five colleges of interest; then look at programs they might be interested in; and finally, visit the college to speak with a college admissions representative and adviser. If students are computer savvy, they can do much research online themselves, then share it with a parent of adult who has already earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Through the duration, keep a positive mental attitude as it can be like a part-time job trying to decide where you want to attend.
Visit every colllege you come in contact with. While on vacation with your parents at age 10 or 15. The college search begins when college awareness becomes the priority.
I always suggest that student who truly have no idea where to start, do so by going to a college search web site such at Unigo or The College Board where they can assist students in considering some of the broader things to consider when narrowing the field of schools to consider. These are things like the size, location, academic reputation, programs offered and cost of the school. Deciding your needs in these basic areas will help to narrow the field of potential schools greatly. Once you have that smaller list, you can start to look through schools to gain a sense of the variety of options that you have. Soon you will learn as you do this what things are most important and what you can live without. Make note of these things and then narrow the field again.
I believe it is important for students to first sit down and take stock of who they are and what is important to them before starting their search. Students should be taking the time to think about aspects of who they are such as their skills, abilities, values, interests, personality, and learning style. A reflective exercise like this challenges a student to recognize who they are and own that recognition. By doing so, they become more informed and therefore can make more intentional decisions about the types of schools they want to consider.
FISKE! This is a great book to start the process with!
I encourage students to cast a wide net and narrow down from there. Here are some questions to consider in pulling together a list of potential colleges.
– Start with looking at yourself. Think about what caliber school you can expect to get into given your grades, extracurriculars, etc. A realistic portrait of your own achievements, qualities and abilities is the best way to have a fruitful admissions process where you can find the school that’s right for you.
– You can do this by looking at schools median SAT scores and grades to get a good idea of where you stand academically, but qualitative details like educational philosophy, class size, political leanings and student characteristics will help you find the school that fits you best.
At the local level, next comes the Internet, and on campus interviews follow, but make sure schools are in session!
Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, you should start by taking a good look at yourself. What kind of student are you – one who learns best in smaller, interactive classroom with lots of discussion, or in lecture-based classes where you can take notes and reflect on them later? Are you better in group work or on your own? And how about as a person – are you shy or outgoing? A “doer” or somewhere who holds back at first? You need to make a list of characteristics you want in a college – you need to know what you’re shopping for before you start looking. Once you have a list of three or four essential qualities a college has to have, then you’re ready to wade through the masses of colleges out there to find the ones that are right for you. Those characteristics also give you criteria on which you create your own rankings of colleges, instead of relying only on the published rankings that are built on other peoples’ criteria.
All students should begin with a question and answer session with themselves (or a college admissions consultant) to get a clear understanding of what they want in college and their reasons for attending. Once the guidelines and wish list are set up, then there are a variety of online and print sources that can be accessed. When working with clients, I often give the step by step resources that really help to keep things in perspective and stress free.
Begin your college search by having a conversation with yourself. What matters to you most: more choices in class titles, or a small class where I can raise my hand and ask a question? Do I need to attend sporting events in a huge stadium? Could I deal with a campus far from the city, or do I need to be able to go home frequently? Does weather matter to me? Do I have to attend a school that everyone knows, or am I open to lesser known schools? How far from home am I willing to be? How much financial aid will I need, and will I be eligible to apply for scholarships based or grades or talent? Once you’ve figured out some of these answers, you should begin with a good college search engine, such as the one here on the unigo site. Knowing yourself will help guide you to the best choices for your personal college list.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.
About Us |
Disclosure: “What Determines Top/Best?” |
Do Not Sell My Personal Information (CA and NV residents)
Disclosure: Unigo LLC. receives compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”). So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking. Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study. By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.
The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.
Sponsored Meaning Explained
EducationDynamics receives compensation for the
featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored
Ad” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored
Results”). So what does this mean for you?
Compensation may impact where the Sponsored
Schools appear on our websites, including whether
they appear as a match through our education
matching services tool, the order in which they
appear in a listing, and/or their ranking. Our
websites do not provide, nor are they intended to
provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the
United States (b) located in a specific geographic
area or (c) that offer a particular program of study.
By providing information or agreeing to be
contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way
obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.
Your trust is our priority. We at EducationDynamics
believe you should make decisions about your
education with confidence. that’s why
EducationDynamicsis also proud to offer free
information on its websites, which has been used by
millions of prospective students to explore their
education goals and interests.