How to Search for Colleges

A guide toThis is, admittedly, the most exciting part of the college process. You get to figure out what types of schools you are drawn to, and create a “colleges to visit” list. There are many characteristics to consider, so let’s begin!new-york-14480_640

One of the most basic–yet most important–factors to consider is school size. What type of environment do you thrive in? Maybe you love the hustle and bustle of a city. Or maybe quiet, surrounding countryside is your cup of tea. Whatever your preference may be, it will start you on the right path. For me, a large school was almost out of the equation. I went to a large high school, and soon discovered that I thrived in an environment much like my small middle school. Once I knew this, I was able to use it as one of my criteria in college search engines.

There are many types of search engines out there. Some high schools partner with individual companies (Naviance, for example), but oftentimes it is helpful to browse around multiple search engines. With the exception of Naviance, my favorite college search engines include Cappex and Niche. These websites allow you to search for colleges based on type (two year or four year), size, location, degree offerings, and more.

Niche Basic College Search Engine
Niche Basic College Search Engine

They are great for creating a “colleges to visit” list. Both websites also have student reviews (which really come in handy when you are making the final decision!), and scholarship listings. They are great websites to browse through, no matter where you are in the entire process.

When creating a “colleges to visit” list, it is important to include a few different types of schools. Even if you are drawn to small schools, add a few larger schools into the mix just to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities. When I was visiting colleges my intuition was usually right, however, oftentimes I was pleasantly surprised by schools I didn’t think I would enjoy. The bottom line: keep your options open. 🙂 old-bicycle-825724_1280

In my next post, I will show you how to navigate the most confusing of college websites. As always, please comment below with any comments, questions, or suggestions of your own!

©2015 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.