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College Search Series #2: 3 Steps To Start Your College Search

When starting to explore colleges, you may find yourself selecting the school names that are most familiar to you. It is understandable to start where you know. However, you can easily overlook great fit colleges if you take this approach. Also, if the college names you know happen to be the most selective schools in the United States, then you can easily create an unbalanced college list lacking likely (safety) and possible (target) school choices. Below are three tips to help you get started exploring schools that you may know little or nothing about…

Tip 1: Explore Two to Three Online College Fit Searches

In order to expand your options and see varying perspectives, consider selecting two to three of the following online college search options to explore good fit colleges for yourself. These online search options will base their selections on important fit factors that you select in the search tools. They will provide you with a list of schools that match your top priorities.

Online College Match/Search Options

Tip 2: Learn From Friends, Family, Teachers, School Counselors, And More

In order to better understand various types of colleges, reach out to your friends, family, teachers, school counselors, family friends, and people in your community to find out where they went to college. Consider the following questions:

  • What they liked most and least about their schools?
  • What type of student thrived at their school? And what type of students did not like the school?
  • What were the students and campus life like?
  • What were popular majors when they attended?
  • What did they study and why?

This can be a great starting to point to hear from folks that have attended schools to see if you like what they have to say.

Tip 3: Search by Specific Factors or Special Interests

One way to narrow your list down quicker is to look up schools based on a specific aspect. You can research colleges based on special factors like majors, athletics, and so much more.

  • Unique Criteria
    • Both of these websites provide interesting lists based on unique criteria such as “50 Of The Most Historically Notable Colleges In America”, “The 45 Most Exotic Universities”, ‘The Happy Colleges”, or “Colleges With A High Percentage That Join Sororities”.

This is a great way to start digging into the college search. It is a process, so give yourself lots of time to explore different options rather than rushing to get a final list. You will grow and change over time, so your list may start in one place and end in a complete opposite way.

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