Informed Decisions Take Time
You can only make a decision with the information you have available at the time. Deciding where to go to college can be one of the biggest decisions you ever make so be sure to invest the time gathering the information you need to make the best decision for you. It doesn't matter whether you already have a college in mind or whether you are starting with a blank slate, take the time to research, investigate and compare. The more information you have, the better decision you can make.
Tips For an Effective College Search
- Choose 10 Possible Colleges to Attend - IMPORTANT!!
- Know a Little About Yourself
- Be Flexible
- Avoid Tunnel Vision
- Take Action
Choose 10 Possible Colleges to Attend
It's fine to have a first choice school, but one of the easiest ways to miss out on possible money for college is to only apply to one or two schools. Why? Imagine walking into a car dealership and telling the salesman you are in love with the car on the showroom floor and you must have it. What kind of deal are you going to get on that car? A really bad one. The same applies to your college search. If the school knows you're only considering them, what kind of deal are you going to get? Maybe not a really bad one, but certainly not the deal you could get. Like it or not, higher education is big business and, as it is with any business, they are competing for you. Once you get past the admissions decision, everything else is a business negotiation and no negotiation will go well if you don't have options.
Know a Little About Yourself We believe the more clarity you have about who you are, your values, strengths and aspirations, the better decisions you will make about your future. It sounds "New Agey" - if that is even a word - but a little self-knowledge helps establish a critical framework which leads you toward your chosen field of study, your career, and eventually your life's purpose. For example, if you're an active person who loves being outdoors then maybe becoming a Certified Public Accountant and working in a cubicle isn't the right path for you even though you really enjoy math and finance.
Don't get hung up on specific search criteria. You need to approach your search with an open mind and be flexible when it comes to specific majors, location, size, etc. The best school for you - and the one that gives you the most money - might not be one that you have considered.
Avoid Tunnel Vision
Don't lose the forest for the trees. It's fine to have a first choice school, but at least entertain the idea of going somewhere else. What is it that you like about your first choice school? Use that to influence the types of colleges you research but don't limit your options.
Rome wasn't built in a day, so the saying goes, so don't wait until you have all the answers about what or where you want to study before you start searching. By then it could be too late. Searching for colleges is a process and many of the answers you're looking for will be revealed as you progress in your college search.