In the know: How to Find the College that is Right for You?

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As you begin your search, it is important to recognize that there is not just one college that is right for you.  You should look for post-secondary opportunities that match your individual needs, interests, and abilities.  In fact, that’s the whole purpose of the college search

Step 1  It's all about You—make a list of your needs, interests, skills, talents, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and potential.  Since you are the most important party in the student-college match, who you are is crucial to finding colleges that are a good match for you.

Step 2  Oh the places I Could Go: Get to know the types of colleges that may be right for you—what they offer, what it takes to get into these institutions, what it will cost to attend them, and how you might pay for attending them.  

Build a My College Options search profile that is focused on your criteria for the “ideal” college and your dream colleges will search for you too! 

The FREE online college and career planning services at My College Options® are the perfect solution for getting you started in this phase of the search process. At mycollegeoptions.org, you can create and update your personal profile online and get a list of up to 15 colleges and universities that match your needs interests, and skills.

Don’t let cost discourage you during the search process.  You can think about this later when you are developing your final list of colleges to which you will apply.  Often, the more expensive institutions offer greater options for financial aid and it might turn out that the cost of attending the institution of your choice would not be as high for you as it first appeared.) 

Step 3  Selecting my dream college: Through your Favorites Manager, you will have solid search list of 15-30 colleges that meet your specifications.  With every update and edit of your profile as many times you will find more colleges that you like and that are interested in you!

Then:
  • Attend college fairs and other events in your area.
  • Meet with college representatives that visit your school.
  • Spend time at the college websites and take their virtual tours.
  • Visit the schools on your lists, if you can and use all of the visits as a basis for comparing and contrasting schools on your list.

By the time you reach the first semester of your senior year, your search list should have been whittled down to six to ten colleges that really appeal to you and to which you have a reasonable chance for acceptance.

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