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Panning for Gold – Finding the Best/Right College for You March 21st, 2007 | No Comments

Okay, okay, I know you’re thinking, “Wow! All this talk about me… Aren’t I just half the equation? Don’t I need to be thinking about what the colleges are looking for-not just who I am, what I want, and what I have to offer?” You’re right, let’s shift focus and examine what college admissions personnel are after…

I have even alluded to it in previous posts… remember that part about being a detective? First, you get clear on what interests you, what you need, and what you want. Second, you start the exciting (and potentially overwhelming) process of discovering the settings that are a match with your interests, wants, and needs. Third, once you have panned for gold-as I fondly call the process of sifting through and narrowing the field from (a potential 4,400) ten to twenty colleges that truly spark your interest, you need to get down to detective work… Look at and listen to these resources:
college websites
college print materials (brochures, posters, catalogues)
college fairs
visiting college representatives (at your school or at college fairs)
student newspapers
college guides (Fiske, Peterson’s, Barrons, to name a few)
magazines (US News and World Report, Newsweek)
alternative guides (Colleges that Change Lives, The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges 2007: Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know, Best 361 Colleges)
blogs

Ask these questions:
What are the schools looking for in their student body? How can you tell? (What shows up in their materials-written, in pictures, on their sites and in videos)?
What values do they discuss? What is you feeling as you read and look through the materials? How would you describe each of the schools?
Diversity
Math/Science
Humanities
Research
Small class size
Famous professors
Sports
Setting
Study Abroad programs
Reputation of the institution

As you are reviewng the schools’ materials, think about what you seek in a school: which schools are potential matches and which are “misses”?

See if you want to work this out on your own-or look for a post within the week for some examples of my detective work… I’ve already chosen one place I’ll investigate. Would you like me to do a little work for you? Tell me a college/university that’s of interest and I will check it out and post the information.

Great idea alert!!! Get a notebook, dividers and pocket folders, a stack of file folders, or create a folder on your computer. You will be generating a LOT of information, you want to handle it from the start – it will cut down on feeling overwhelmed or lost! Think now about how you want to organize the information – by college or by topics you are researching….

If you have a question, please post it – if you’re thinking it, you can bet that others are too! If you want some personal attention, drop me an email at jill@majorinyou.com.

Happy digging!

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