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THE COLLEGE SEARCH PROCESS 


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There are two major factors you need to consider as a prospective college student-finding the right school and deciding on a major. While many students do not choose a major right away, doing some research about the programs available at the colleges you are considering will be very helpful once you do make that decision.

Use every tool at your disposal
Using the Internet is generally a good idea during the early days of your college search, as much of the information you'll need initially can be found easily online. However, once you've begun to narrow down a shortlist of prospective schools, you may want to consider sources of information.

College fairs and campus tours can be very useful to students who are searching for a college. Fairs allow you to ask admissions officials questions about the kind of student they typically admit, campus life, student organizations and extracurricular activities. You can also ask about the size of certain departments and the resources and facilities available to students who major in certain fields, such as laboratories for science majors and studio space for art students.

On a more personal level, campus tours allow you to see firsthand what life is like at certain schools. In addition, campus tours provide an excellent opportunity to meet the faculty of the department relevant to your major, and to ask current students how they feel about the school.

Keep your options open
Some students set their sights firmly on one or two schools and refuse to consider any other colleges. While this approach works for some lucky students, it is important to remember that competition for places at many colleges and universities is intense. If you do not gain admission to your dream school, and failed to identify some other options, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Many students approach the college search by composing a list of schools that fall into three categories: match, reach and safety schools. Match schools are colleges at which your academic record is a good fit in terms of what admissions officials expect from prospective applicants. Reach colleges are the long shots, universities at which you would love to study, but may be a little unrealistic or overly competitive. Safety colleges are schools that you are likely to gain admission to due to exceeding the admission requirements.

When searching for a college, try to identify at least two schools from each of these three categories to keep your options open and give yourself some flexibility.


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