Figuring out which colleges you want to apply to can be tough. You may have an idea about what you want to study, or where, but narrowing down your choices gets harder when you don’t have all the information you need. As with any major decision, you may find that the college search process gets much easier when you break it down into a few manageable steps.
Think About Your Needs
When beginning your college search, think about what you need – not just in terms of books, tech, or supplies, but the quality of education and experience at each school you’re considering. Keep your needs in mind as you research academic departments and campuses.
- Do you know what you want to study?
Look at schools offering your specific program or related disciplines.
- What type of career do you want to pursue?
Make sure the programs you’re looking at include skill-building for real world applications.
- Where do you want to go to school?
Deciding whether you plan to stay in town or want to move to another location.
- Will you need financial aid?
Look into scholarships, grants, and other aid that you may qualify for
See for Yourself
Once you’ve decided on a few potential schools, visiting the campus for a tour is the ideal next step. Seeing a college for yourself in person will give you a feel for the environment, student life, class sizes, and available facilities (computer labs, libraries, study centers, etc.) that may tip your choice one way or another. If you’re able, now would also be a good time to consult with the financial aid, admissions, or program offices.
Get Another Perspective
Don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. Guidance counselors, mentors, or even college admissions staff can help to give you further insight into the college search process and make it seem less overwhelming. Many schools even have outreach teams of current and former students who can answer questions about programs, resources, and clubs and organizations. It can help for you to talk with people who have experience that you can draw on when making your decision.
If You’re Still in Doubt, Make a List
After your preliminary research, a visit to the campus, and speaking with a guidance counselor or admissions officer, you might still have some doubts about which schools or programs would be best for you. That’s where a pro/con list can come in handy. It may help for you to see a comparison in writing. Take time to consider the following points between each school you’re considering:
- Class Availability
- Class Size
- Resources and Support
This will be your college experience, so use any or all of these tips to help you decide which choice is right for you.
In the meantime, you don’t have to navigate your college search alone. At South College, we can help answer your questions and provide support every step of the way. Contact us to learn more.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2017. It has been updated to include new information.