Where am I?

College Search Tips

1. Get to know YOU

When and where are you most comfortable? Big social gatherings or more private settings. At the library. On the couch computer in your lap. Or maybe cramming with your friends. Think about what you really want out of school. Even if you don’t know your major, think about the “experience” you want.

2. Brainstorm

When starting your college search, just begin listing universities and colleges that are on your radar whether you know anything about them or not. Include any local schools. Then you can use more detailed analysis to narrow your choices.

3. To Travel or Not

If you have a choice, you need to decide if you’re going to attend college in town or away from home. And this can be a big choice, so think about what environment you’d be most comfortable in ... and what’s practical. Even if you’re going to school in town, you might want to live in the dorms. It’s your experience — make the most of it.

4. Area of Study

This is always high on the list, but you may not know what you want to major in ... and that’s OK. A large percentage of college freshmen are undecided. But you owe it to yourself to see what majors a school has, what programs they’re known for, and what the academic environment is like. If you do have a major in mind, or know for sure, research the subject online. Meeting with someone from that department or at least e-mailing them is a great step, too. The admissions department can put you in touch with faculty.

5. Yes, Read!

If you’re getting inundated with college brochures, it can be overwhelming, but those brochure can actually help you. Don’t just set them aside. Really check them out. It’s a great way to compare schools. Not just statistics, but what do they say, what’s the “feel” of the brochure? It can say a lot about a school. And you can use them as tools for narrowing your search. Keep the ones that interest you as a visual aid.

6. Don’t Be Shy

These days, many times a student’s first contact with a school is an application. In this case, colleges don’t really know if you’re serious about their school or if they are just one of 10 (or more) schools to which you’ve applied. Get on their radar! The e-mails and mail you get from the college will help keep you on track and will alert you to important financial aid and scholarship information.

7. Ask Away

Whether it’s from researching online, or actually contacting admissions counselors, finding out some basics will help you narrow your college search.

Here are just a few questions to get you started when selecting a college or university:

  • What percentage of students receive financial aid each year? It gives you a baseline on your chances.
  • What scholarships are available, and how do you apply for them?
  • What is the faculty/student ratio?
  • What is the average class size?
  • Do faculty teach most of the classes or are assistants doing a lot of instruction?
  • What kind of accreditations does the school have?
  • Are your favorite extracurricular interests available (athletics, intramurals, drama, art, service projects, etc.)?

8. Visit Campus

No doubt you’ve heard this. But it’s true. This is where your gut instinct really comes into play. On paper or online, the school might look like a great fit (or, conversely, might just seem “ok”), but when you get to campus you might get a completely different feel. Meet some faculty and current students, take a tour, check out the facilities and generally explore and observe. Ask a lot of questions. That’s what the visit is for! Can’t visit. Look for online blogs, videos, photos and virtual tours.

Ready to get started? Schedule a campus visit at Fontbonne!