The best way to get the real scoop on a college is to visit. However, that can be expensive and time consuming. Here are our suggestions for other ways to research a college if you can’t visit in person.
1. Use the college website. Specifically, a student should look at the admissions section, academic sections, student organizations, and most importantly the student newspaper. The student newspaper is the one “unfiltered” piece on most websites. Some campuses might also have student blogs and/or a virtual tour on the admissions part of their website.
3. Google Earth can be incredibly helpful for seeing what the campus and surrounding areas area like.
4. Talk to an alum in your hometown. Colleges might be willing to provide you with a list or your school counselor might know past HS students who attend colleges you are interested in.
5. Use a local directory of admissions reps such as CARR which is the organization for Chicago area admissions reps
. These are admissions reps who live in particular areas of the country and specifically recruit in those areas. They are almost always willing to come to your HS and/or meet up at a local library or coffee place. More local groups of admissions reps can be found on NARAC’s site
6. Visit the college’s social media sites. Many colleges now ask current students to post material so you might get an insider’s look at what’s happening on campus now.
7. Visit a college fair in your area! For a list visit NACAC
8. Read a college guide book. The Fiske Guide is probably the most highly regarded and easiest to read. Cool Colleges is another great book. Many people like Colleges That Change Lives, as well.