Before you explore and compare different schools, first decide what you’re looking for in a school. Search for a school that fits you well. Here are some tips that may help:
•Visit. Visiting a school may give you a better taste of what it is actually like rather than what people say or what you read.
•Check out a few schools you know little or nothing about but offer what you’re looking for in a school. A little research and an open mind can greatly increase the odds that you make a good college choice.
•Be careful of selecting a school just because your friends or girlfriend or boyfriend are going there.
•Investigate for yourself. Lots of folks will refer to a college as “good”, “hard to get into”, “a party school”, “too expensive”, etc.without knowing the facts.
•Do not rule out colleges early because of cost. Many colleges offer scholarships, financial aid, and tuition plans that make them far more affordable than they may first appear. Check out Paying for college for more info.
•Don’t be afraid to apply to a few “reach schools”. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results if you are not entirely unrealistic.
•Apply to a few colleges where you are highly likely to get in. Remember, choose these three colleges very carefully as they are the places where you are most likely to wind up.
•Apply to a couple of “safety” colleges. Colleges to which you are virtually certain you will be admitted. Choosing “safety” schools they don’t really like is a mistake many students make. If you take the time to choose safety schools you would be happy to attend, you’ll eliminate all the anxiety some students experience in the college application and admissions process.
•Talk to people. When it is time to make your final choice, discuss your options with your family, your counselor, and others who you trust. If you have a tough time choosing among two or more colleges or universities it is probably because you have done a good job putting together your list and you will be happy at whichever institution you choose.