Searching for the Right College
Beginning your search to find the right college to attend can seem overwhelming. You have a lot of things to find out and a lot of information to process.
First, you must deal with all the information that you are getting that you didn’t even ask for. This can include mailings and telephone calls from schools. Most of the time, these will be from schools that you have no interest in. However, they can be a good source of information as to what to look for in other schools. Go through this information as you receive it. Afterward, keep what you are interested in and discard the rest.
Next, it is time to begin searching on your own. Begin by prioritizing your criteria. What is most important to you? Common answers will hinge mostly on location, price, and academic programs.
One of the best ways to begin looking for schools is to use the Internet. There are many college search features that can be used to locate and narrow down schools by using your criteria. For an example, we will use location. Say you are interested in staying within your state. You can locate a college search engine and search for all the schools within your state or area. After you have a list of possible schools, discuss your list with your guidance counselor. He or she will probably know or will be able to find out the best way to contact them and find out more information.
It is then time to contact each school. This is the time when you should ask about your other criteria. For this part of the example, we will use academic programs of interest. Your first contact with the school will probably be through a telephone call. If you are interested in going into medicine, for example, you would want to contact the school and find out who you could speak with to learn more about the science programs there. After doing this at each school, select a few that you would like to visit. Visits are the best way to learn about a college. You are able to meet with faculty and current students and get a feel for what it is like to attend that school. This is only one route that you can take to find schools that will interest you. There are many others. After you have experimented somewhat, you will likely find the way that is best for you.
Be careful, however, that you do not limit yourself by looking into schools using only one aspect of your criteria. For example, do not only look into schools because of their location, or only because of a certain major that they offer. The reason for this is that people change. You could look be looking only at schools with good science programs, only to change your mind and decide you want to major in a different area. College students, on the average, change their major at least three times during their college career. So, if you plan for this and look into different aspects of each school, you will be much more prepared to find a school that you will be happy with if things change.