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Things to Consider in a College Search Cheat Sheet by

search     college     selection     considerations

Introd­uction

There are many ways to search for the right college for you. However, need to start this search early in your junior year of high school. This plenty of time to prepare for the admission requir­ements and gather all of the approp­riate materials to begin the applic­ation process.

Here is a checklist by category of the major things to consider when choosing which college to attend.

Academics

Does the school have not just your ideal major but several good backups in case you change your mind?
What is the reputation of the faculty and the faculty in your major(s) in partic­ular?
What are the academic facili­ties, libraries, and labs like?
What kind of research opport­uni­tie­s—not just in the scienc­es—­exist on campus?

Afford­ability

What is the average financial aid package?
Does financial aid include loans?
What is the average student loan debt?
Is the school need-blind or need-aware in admission?
How many years does it typically take students to graduate?

Community

What is the social scene like on campus?
How many students live on campus full time?
How many stay on campus during the weekends?
How many are on campus during summer break?

Location

What is the “town-­gown” relati­onship like between the college and surrou­nding community?
What are the area’s employment opport­unities like for students as well as recent grads?
What’s the average cost of living and general quality of life?
What kinds of recrea­tional opport­unities are there?
How safe is the area?

Select­ivity

What is the average admitted student’s academic profile like, and how does it compare to yours?
Is it a safety, reach, or realistic option for you?
Does the school take a holistic approach to admission decisions?

Support

What campus services are available to students, such as tutoring, career guidance, and mental health?
Are any of those services available to you after you graduate?
 

College Search

Enrichment

What kinds of extrac­urr­icular opport­unities exist on campus?
How many students partic­ipate in extra curric­ulars?
How easy is it to start your own club?
What kinds of experi­ential education opport­uni­ties, such as intern­ships, co-ops, and volunt­eering, exist on and around campus?

Useful links

http:/­/ww­w.u­sco­lle­ges­ear­ch.org/
This is a directory of U.S. colleges where you may request inform­ation.
http:/­/ww­w.s­cho­olc­oun­sel­or.org/
This site provides many links to colleges.
http:/­/ww­w.p­rin­cet­onr­evi­ew.com/
A college planning site that offers test prepar­ation and inform­ation on schola­rships and financial aid.
http:/­/ww­w.a­ct.org/
ACT is a compre­hensive search engine that provides useful inform­ation on college and career readiness skills, benchmark scores, as well as inform­ation on colleges and their requir­ements.
http:/­/ww­w.c­oll­ege­boa­rd.com/
The College Board is a compre­hensive search engine with useful inform­ation on colleges and their requir­ements (including applic­ati­ons), campus visits, and the SAT.
http:/­/ww­w.c­oll­ege­cou­ntd­own­kit.com/
A good college search site with sample essays, financial aid inform­ation, etc.
http:/­/ww­w.c­oll­ege­net.com/
This site provides a database of links to colleges, majors, and tuition inform­ation.
http:/­/ww­w.c­amp­ust­our­s.com/
This site offers virtual campus tours of colleges and univer­sities across the country.
http:/­/ww­w.c­oll­ege­vie­w.com/
This site provides inform­ation on colleges, including diversity, fields of study, athletics, religious affili­ations, and special programs and services for students with disabi­lities.
http:/­/ww­w.l­ibr­ary.il­lin­ois.ed­u/e­dx/­ran­ld.ngs
This site contains a compre­hensive overview of college rankings.

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