For high school juniors, January is the time to be researching and planning college visits, looking at requirements and applications, and seeing where you stand for the college application season next fall. Overwhelming? It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. There are thousands of colleges and universities in the United States, in addition to international programs, and many families don’t know where to begin when it comes to researching and applying to colleges.
To start your college search, narrow down the field by several key categories.
Some students want to stay close to home while others are looking for an out-of-state or really-out-of-state school. Start your search by deciding how far from home you’re willing to go. Going to school out of state or across the country can seem exciting, but it is a big decision that should be carefully considered.
Rather than eliminating an entire state or region, narrow your search by considering the environment you’d like to live in. Are you looking for a busy city, quiet suburb or kitschy college town? A student spends a lot of time in the community surrounding his or her college, so it’s important to consider what environment you’re looking for.
A school’s size should be a major factor when narrowing down your list of schools to research. Some students flourish at large universities, while others prefer a small campus community. There are also schools that are medium sized. Be sure to ask what the average class size is for each school you review.
Your chosen major is obviously an important factor in narrowing your list of potential colleges. Find schools that offer your top major choices, or perhaps identify schools that allow you the flexibility to create your own major. Later in your search, you can score the schools on the rigor and offerings in your program of choice.
One last piece of advice: don’t just go on “brand name” when it comes to schools. You may be leaving out a school that is a perfect fit for you just because you’ve never heard of it. Keep an open mind and enjoy the excitement that comes with this phase in your life!
Work with one of our expert college admissions tutors to stay on track with your applications and choose your schools wisely!Written by: Editorial Team, My Learning Springboard, Inc.