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Finding ‘Best-Fit’ Colleges, Part 2: Researching the Schools


Here are some other sites that I find useful. But you should experiment and decide which you like:

www.insidecollege.com

US News Rankings:

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/rankindex_brief.php

http://www.collegeprowler.com/

www.studentsreview.com

For college Visit reports and videos:

http://www.collegeconfidential.com/vibe/

Link to College Confidential’s College Search discussion: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/

Exploring your Preferences: Remember that the main reason that you are looking is to try to find a school that is the Best Fit!! Remember that colleges are also trying to find the ‘right fit’ student. So if you can identify what makes this the right fit school for you, then the converse will also be true, that is, they are more likely to choose you!

Academic fit:

College teaching styles are different. Are you the type of student that learns best in a small seminar setting or a large auditorium with lectures and PowerPoint presentations? 

Everyone’s learning style is different. College size and teaching philosophies will play a role in how well a student will do once he or she arrives on campus. Some colleges have very strict core curriculum requirements while others have none. 

Do you want flexibility in choosing coursework or are you the type of student that needs a lot of structure? There are colleges that will accommodate both styles. 

Having a variety of majors to choose from is key because colleges offer majors and concentrations that most students don’t even know about until they get there. Keep an open mind and choose a school with options, because I guarantee there will be a few majors in college you have not been exposed to yet. They could change your academic goals!

Social Fit:

Learning happens in and outside the classroom. Most colleges tend to offer a very active social scene. What kind of extra-curricular activities do you want to become involved with when you get to college? What kind of clubs and organizations would you like to explore? What are the other students like?

Every school has a different mission and a different feel, and they all attract different kinds of students. Try to get a feel for what the students on campuses care about. What do they spend their time doing? Are they things you would be interested in? Only about 1/3 of your time will be spent on academics, so you really should pay a lot of attention to this! 

Exploring the social life of a campus and understanding whether or not you would fit there is a key factor in choosing a college. Remember to keep an open mind. You will change throughout your college years. If you have a chance to visit campuses to assess the social life and values, ask yourself if these students not only represent who you are, but more importantly, who you want to become.

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Prab Singh heads CollegeSource (http://thecollegesource.net/), an organisation that provides life coaching to adolescents and support to their family through the process of deciding their higher education and career goals.


One thought on “Finding ‘Best-Fit’ Colleges, Part 2: Researching the Schools

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    Thanks Prab. Both your posts provide very useful and practical information indeed. With the amount of information available at our fingertips nowadays, its scary to try and figure out how to navigate all of it. I guess that’s where the expert steps in!

    Reply

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