There is a wealth of information available to help you with your college search. Take advantage of all the resources available to discover what type of college experience is right for you.
You can start by looking through college guide books, which provide information about colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. These books are available from bookstores and online, or you can borrow them from your local library. Guide books such as the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” offer facts about basic admission requirements such as GPA, SAT and ACT ranges, course requirements, tuition, student body demographics and feedback from current students.
Read free online college resource guides, follow college admission related blogs, read newspapers, attend college fairs, meet with your guidance counselor and talk with your parents, classmates and friends. Spend time online— explore school websites. Individual school sites are a great resource and provide detailed information regarding a school’s student body, curriculum, extracurricular activities, housing, Greek life, tuition and financial aid. Use the Net Price Calculator to get an estimate of your financial aid package. Take virtual tours of campuses and browse through online photo galleries to get a sense of the physical setting. As you discover academic, athletic and extracurricular programs you’d like to look into, jot down notes— its easy to confuse details from one school to another.
Now that you’ve done some background research, it’s time to talk to your parents and guidance counselor. Think about who you know at the schools that interest you— it may be helpful to reach out to current students and also alum to ask questions and get a better understanding of the school’s “personality.” College representatives who visit your high school or participate in college fairs in your area are another great source of information.
Now you’re ready to make a preliminary list of schools to look into further.