Narrow Down Your College Search

college choice
Check out these tips from FLVS Student Erica Nathan on choosing a college! 

Figure out what you want in a college
Do you want to study political science or engineering? Attend a small school or stay close to home? What type of college can you afford? These are just a few questions that you’ll want to consider when starting to narrow down your college search. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start your search. The ACT has a great list of the many factors to consider.

Find colleges that meet your parameters
You have your perfect hypothetical college in mind – the one that offers majors in geology and mathematics, is medium sized and has a lot of scenery. Now it’s time to find colleges to match your brainstorm. The College Board’s comprehensive college search tool has all types of interactive variables, from locations to student demographics to test scores and school colors. By using this, you should be able to come up with a list of colleges you would want to attend.

Start sorting your list by viability
Once you have a list of colleges, start looking up average test scores and other pertinent admissions information. Identify which colleges are “safety schools” or schools you would almost definitely be offered admission, “realistic schools” or schools you would likely be offered admission, and “reach schools” or schools you have a smaller chance of being offered admission. This is where you also need to start thinking of how many essays and forms you intend to complete. Most students like to have anywhere from three to eight colleges they apply to.

Try to gain insight into the environment
How’s the food? Are people generally friendly? Colleges may seem perfect on paper, but it’s important to consider the atmosphere of the colleges you are considering. One way to do this is to visit the campus. Some colleges offer tours, overnight visits and summer programs. If you can’t make it there in person, see if the college has a virtual tour. They’re a lot of fun and much less walking. Another option is to contact the college and ask if there is a graduate or admissions officer you could talk to. Lastly, College Confidential lets you anonymously post questions about anything related to college.

Research what extra opportunities are available
Perhaps your college has an observatory on campus. Maybe they have amazing museums nearby. Do some research into what opportunities they offer outside of class. An easy and efficient way to do this is by simply following the college’s social media. You’ll come across a lot of stories about the achievements of their current students and how the college prepares its students for life after college.

Post by: FLVS Student Erica Nathan, Grade 12

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