The College Search
With so many college choices available and the wide variety among the institutions that can be found across the world, the college search process can be quite overwhelming.
To start with there are countless books and websites out there to help you navigate searching, applying and deciding on a school. The college search process is an opportunity for you to learn more about colleges, potential careers and yourself. To find your "best fit" college, take the time to learn more about what is important to you. Look at your interests, activities, values and personality. It is a good idea to talk to your school counsellor about what you are looking for. The counsellors will be able to give you the names of several colleges that match you interests. Talk to your parents about what you are looking for in a college. Attend all the University fairs and if possible visit few campuses if possible or else one can do a virtual tour of the campus online. Try to get a feel for the place to determine if it is a welcoming environment—a place where you feel comfortable.
Based on your research, you will probably refine your list of criteria somewhat and your final search list may look very different from your original one. This is but expected as each time you refine it; you will be coming closer to identifying your college options and the schools that can offer what you want, provide you with appropriate intellectual challenges, enrich your life and prepare you for a successful future.
Although some colleges may be similar in some ways, no two colleges are exactly the same. While the differences may appear subtle, they are very important. One good way to start the process is by knowing what college characteristics are important for you. The following list includes some of the important characteristics named by most of the prospective college applicants:
- Does this college offer what I want? While that is an important question, it should not be your main concern at this point. “Undecided” is a very popular major among first year college students and choosing a major can usually be postponed until your fourth semester in college
- The quality and rigor of academic study at the institution and the kind of activities (co- and extra-curricular, as well as social) offered.
- Will I be happy there? You must be convinced that you will enjoy the years you will spend at the college. That is why spending time at the institution’s website, visiting the campus, talking extensively with the school’s admissions officers and current students, etc. are crucial parts of the college search.
- Support services like academic advising system, counselling, safety and security support that are available to undergraduates
- Scholarship and financial aid policies and practices of the college/university
- How expensive is the college and how many students who attend the college receive financial aid and how much aid do they receive?
- Is this college out of reach for me or is it one to which I am likely to or might possibly be admitted?