Colleges That Change Lives

In order to select a college that will change your life forever, you must make sure that it is a good fit for you.  This will take some time.  Once you’ve carefully considered all of the questions listed in the“Which College Is For Me?” post, you should now have a list of colleges that you are interested in.

Next, you’ll need to do some more in-depth research to really find out if these colleges are a good fit for you.  Here’s what you should do now….

Visit each school’s website. This is the first step.  You can learn a ton of information about a school just from visiting their website.  Everything from how many students are enrolled to what majors are available.  You should spend a fair amount of time studying each section of the website.  This exercise should tell you if you want to continue searching for more information or if you’ve seen enough and want to take this school off your list. 

Request Information. If after researching the school’s website, you’re still interest in learning more about the school, then you should request more information.  Typically, each school will have a section of their website that will allow you to input your information (i.e. name, email, address, phone, etc.) and the school will send you additional information and brochures.  Some of this will be a repeat of what you’ve already seen on the website; however some of it will go into more detail.

Also, if you have an interest in a specific academic program, let’s say the School of Education for example, sometimes the school can send you additional information that’s related to your specific interests.

Visit the Campus. If the information you received in the mail has you even more excited about potentially attending a specific college, then I’d definitely recommend visiting the school in-person.  The best way to do this is to schedule a campus tour.  Some schools will have specific dates listed on their websites that will tell you exactly when tours are being offered or you may just need to call the admissions office to schedule one.  A campus tour is one of the best ways to really get a feel for the school.  Once you’ve toured the campus and seen the dorms, dining halls, and classrooms, you should be able to tell if the school would be a good fit for you.  This is a pretty big decision, so it may take you a couple visits before you know for sure or not and that’s OKAY.  It’s not uncommon for students to visit campuses multiple times before making a final decision.

Participate in Open Houses. Some schools will also have the option for you to attend an open house.  Open houses usually provide you with a bit more information than just a campus tour.  Colleges typically host these in a large group setting on specific days and generally you need to register in advance to attend.  At a minimum, representatives from the college will give you an overview of the school, discuss the admissions process, and give you a tour of the campus.

Shadow Day. Some colleges will allow you to shadow a student for a day.  This is an even better way to get to know the school and to get all your questions answered by a current student.  You’ll get a chance to sit in on classes and get to see what a typical college student’s schedule is like.  Contact the school’s admissions office for more information regarding opportunities like these.  Some schools even allow visiting students to stay overnight in the dorms!  How awesome would that be?

Take a Virtual Tour. What if I don’t have the money to visit the colleges on my list?  I completely understand.  You can just take a virtual tour of the campus.  A virtual tour is a simulation of what the college looks like in person.  These will give you an idea of what the campus is like without leaving the comfort of your own home.  You’ll learn a lot and you won’t have to spend a dime.   Where can I find these?  Just go back to the school’s website and look for a link that says “take a virtual tour” or something similar.  If you can’t find the link, you can contact the school directly to see if this feature is available on their website, or you can try this website:http://www.campustours.com/.  This site will allow you to take virtual campus tours directly from their website.

Students who actually take the time to really research the colleges that interest them are the ones who end up with a list of colleges that they can really feel confident about.  This is how you select colleges that change lives, by really learning everything you can before making those final decisions.

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TheCollegeHelper

TheCollegeHelper

Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.
TheCollegeHelper

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