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Finding the Best Colleges For You

Looking for the Best Colleges for You

Trying to find the best colleges for you can seem daunting. How can you sort through thousands of options and come up with well-matched target list?
When searching for colleges, many prospective students ask the question, “How many school do I visit?”, “How many colleges should I apply to?” and “What is the best college for me?”

Today, the average student visits up to fifteen colleges and applies to at least six colleges. A student should apply to at least two safety schools, at least two dream schools, and at least two perfect fit schools. Remember that it is important to apply to at least six schools but applying to too many schools could sacrifice the quality of the applications, not to mention the time and cost involved.

Don’t confuse quantity with quality. Before you begin your college search, it is important to assess your needs to help you find the colleges that match you personally. Below is a checklist that will serve as a guide to help you.

Please check the appropriate answer. There now are wrong answers to these questions. Answering honestly will help you identify the criteria to apply when searching for the best colleges for you.

THE COLLEGE SETTING

The student wants:
____ A four year college
____ A community college

The student likes:
____ Urban
____ Suburban
____ Rural

The student would like to be:
____Far from home
____Near the college, within driving distance
____ Distance is not an issue

The student would like:
____ Small school: less than 2,000
____ Medium size school: 2,000 – 5,000
____ Large School: over 5,000

The student has a particular preference for a school that does not discriminate against:
____Sexual orientation
____ Religious affiliation
____Cultural diversity
____A liberal school

The student would like:
____A non-coed school
____A coed school

The student wants:
____Public school
____Private school

The student’s financial aid needs ARE:
____ Merit scholarship
____ Need based scholarship
____ Subsidized loans
____ Unsubsidized loans

THE BEST COLLEGE ENVIRONMENT

What environment would you prefer?
____ Small class sizes
____Large class sizes
____More availability of professors and faulty
____Would feel lost in a large school setting

What is your field of study?
____ Performing arts
____ Computer Science
____Medical
____ Legal
____ Business
____Engineering

What opportunities would you like at the school?
____ Research
____ International Study
____ Internships/Co-ops

SERVICES AND FACILITIES OFFERED BY THE SCHOOL

My interests are in:
____ Work
____ Music, theater, and museums
____ Indoor/outdoor recreation

Do you have special needs and require:
____ Counseling
____ Disability accommodations
____ Educational support

Dorm Preference:
____ Single
____ Coed by floor
____ Coed by dorms with coed bathroom accommodations
____ Coed dorms with single sex bathroom accommodations
____ Alcohol/Drug free
Do you play sports?
____ Varsity
____ Club

Now, that you have completed the best colleges guide checklist you are ready to begin searching for colleges. Remember, when looking for the right fit colleges for you, the first things to look at in your checklist is the type of college setting you might like, public or private.

Secondly, look at the services and facilities offered by the school such as dorms, academic accommodations, and working opportunities. The third area a student should look at when searching for a college is the educational environment. Do you prefer a small or large school?

Finally, the last thing to consider in identifying the best colleges for you is financial consideration. What are the total costs? Does the school offer scholarships and loans? Working with parents, counselors, or private advisors is a good idea when choosing a college. They might notice something in particular you need in a college that the student might have overlooked.