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How To Research Colleges

How To Research Colleges

Deciding to attend college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during your life. Hence, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Rather, it should be researched earnestly and thoroughly. 

As a starting point for how to research colleges, you should think of what interests you, what makes your heart sing, and what would be fun to do as a lifetime job. However, there are many other factors to consider as well which we’ll address in full below.

How To Research Colleges

6 Major Steps

According to CollegeVine there are 6 main steps to guide you through the process of finding the best college:

  1. Start early: Freshman year is a perfect time to start thinking about your college list.
  2. Spend time thinking about your needs and wants: Don’t let anyone else, including your parents, tell you what you should want. Does your school choice offer your preferred major?
  3. Look online: Everything starts with Google. Looking online can help kick off your research.
  4. Ask others for advice: One of your best sources of advice is other peers who are in college.
  5. Visit campuses: An ideal way to figure out if you mesh well with the culture, people and environment of a college is by visiting the school.
  6. Demonstrate interest: Show colleges you’re interested in them by going to college fairs, talking to admissions representatives, and signing up to receive information online and by mail.


Factors To Consider

There are many factors to consider when deciding upon the right college choice. Here are some of the most important ones as suggested by PrepScholar:

  1. Location: Do you want to be close or away from home?
  2. Size: Would you be more comfortable in a small or large school?
  3. Academics: Do you need to consider an undergraduate or research degree?
  4. Cost: What is your budget? Also consider scholarships available.
  5. Social scene: What do you want the environment to feel like?
  6. Housing: Do you have to live on campus your freshman year? Do you want to live at home with parents, share housing with friends or live on campus?
  7. Dining: Would it be easier to eat meals on campus as part of your housing package? Do you want to eat at home with parents? Do you want to cook your own meals? (Consider the cost of each).
  8. Extracurriculars: Do you intend to involve yourself in extracurricular activities?
  9. Athletics: Do you want to participate in the athletic department, f they have one available? Are you a possible scholarship recipient for sports?


Where To Search For Colleges

Common Data Set Initiative (CDS) is a great place to begin searching. Almost every college publishes its Common Data Set on its website.

To locate the CDS for a specific college, type the following into a search engine: ‘common data set college name school year.’ 

Now that you have the basics from which to begin, I know you will make amazing choices for the perfect college and college experience. 

Joanne is a professional speaker, writer, organizer, and certified life coach. She received her Communications/Creative Writing BS degree from Chapman University in Orange, California.

Since deciding to attend college in her later years, she is well versed in the why and how it works. Her children were inspired to continue their education after high school, after watching their mom attend at an advanced age. Joanne was working for a Fortune 500 Company and knew getting a college degree would make her more competitive in the job market. She started at the junior college level and transferred her credits to Chapman. To her amazement, after graduation, a new Communications Department opened up and she was selected to be one of the Communications Specialists in the new department. It was also at a pay increase which made it all the more satisfying.

Currently, Joanne has her first two e-books in her Better Life Series on “How to Have More Love and Peace in Your Life,” and “Four Steps to Happiness.” “Beyond Hoping” is in the works along with a children’s book.

Joanne has seen how a college education can create new opportunities for young and old students and wishes she had a team like My College Planning Team available to her and her children to assist with their process and save them time, stress and money.

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