a high school sophomore or junior, your college search process may seem like
something to do in the distant future, but now is the time to begin gathering
information. This can be a somewhat intense and overwhelming process. However,
if you consider that the college search process is just that, a process - one
that takes time and patience - you will find searching for your dream college
truly enjoyable. Below are ideas and tips that will help you get started in looking
for the college that is the perfect fit.
- Think about what you
would like to major in. If you do not have a particular major in mind, consider
looking at liberal arts colleges and universities.
- Look to your guidance
office for help. The office will usually have files with college viewbooks,
catalogs and applications. You will also find important financial aid
applications and scholarship information.
- Ask yourself what type
of school you see yourself at for four years: public, private or one that is
religiously affiliated. You should also consider size and location. Would you
thrive at a large university in a city, or a smaller college in the suburbs?
- Include your family in
the process. This is a decision that will affect all of you. Talk with them
about financing and the expectations from both sides.
- Are you interested in
participating in athletics? Many schools offer varsity, intramural and/or club
- Surf the Web. From the
comfort of your home you can take a virtual tour of campus, find out what
majors schools offer and check out student activities and athletics.
- Put your name on mailing
lists. One of the easiest things you can do is fill out a prospective student inquiry
form online. When you receive mail you inquired about, read it.
- Narrow down your college
list and start making appointments for college tours and interviews. Make sure
you prepare questions ahead of time to ask the admissions representative. It is
also very important to dress appropriately.
- Begin drafting your
college essay. The essay topic may depend on the schools that you plan on
applying to. Some schools strictly use the Common Application, and you will be
required to choose an essay topic from their list, while others have their own
application and essay.
- Start working on your
resume of activities. Be it athletics, theater or community service, these
activities help the admissions counselor reading your application see that you
are a well rounded student.
If you complete the tasks outlined above throughout
your sophomore and junior years, your senior year should be much less
stressful. Your senior year should be focused on polishing your application,
essay and resume of activities, and going on final tours or attending open house
events on college campuses.