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“If it ain’t fun, it ain’t gettin’ done!” Part 2 January 26th, 2010 | No Comments

I am here to tell you that you can have a great time stepping into the process of finding the colleges that are right for you!  Think about it, you’re planning the next stage of your life… and most of that planning is fun and (almost) easy!  Using your strengths-the ones that you identified last week-will make this project even easier!

You start by thinking about yourself…pretty easy, right?!

  • who are you (your talents, knowledge, skills, values, life experiences, extracurricular activities…)
  • what’s important to you
  • what do you want to do with your life (btw, it’s okay if you don’t have an answer to this… over 50% of students entering college have not chosen a major)
  • what’s your profile (grade point average, difficulty of course work {honors, AP, IB}, SAT/ACT scores, class rank)
  • what is the range of money available for college…talk with your parent(s) about finances*
  • list any questions or concerns you have about the search process and track down the resources (books, people, websites) with the answers

You learn about what colleges are about… you become a detective to get the scoop->fun stuff!

  • what’s the range of possibilities-from 85-55,000 students to a variety of settings
  • what are colleges looking for in students, what are their values (which they tell you about in all their materials), what do they need to learn about you

You think about yourself again… even easier the second time!

  • which settings are best for you (large, medium or small student body, city, suburbs, east, west, north, south, near/far from home)
  • which settings are a fit for your values
  • which schools have programs that interest you (subject areas, study abroad, extracurriculars)
  • which schools fit into each of the three “buckets”-likelies, possibles, reaches (re:  your profile)

You visit the colleges/universities…road trip!

  • plan your visits-who’s going with you, where, when, what will you do, what questions do you have about all the schools and each off the schools
  • check out the campuses-tour, info session, visit a residence hall, eat the food, walk the campus, sit in on classes, read the school newspaper, talk to professors, coaches and  students… and if you can’t get to a campus, check out their websites
  • take notes on all the campuses, to review when you get home

You make choices… how cool!

  • think with both your head and your heart about the colleges on your list
  • choose 8-10 schools to learn even more about-read the college guides, particularly the alternative guides, to get a sense of the schools
  • talk with family, friends, guidance counselors… ask questions/get answers, remember you’re getting both facts and opinions

You start applying!
That’s the next post!

*  Remember, state schools are less expensive than private schools, yet private schools generally offer more support to students.  There’s a lot of info about financial aid, scholarships, and loans in your guidance office, library, and online.  Most likely, you will want some help from a parent, guidance counselor or a professional in sifting through that information.

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