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.
I like to look at most complex tasks that require organization from three perspectives: Breadth, Depth and Dimension. When tackling large projects, this strategy helps you narrow the field while not rushing too quickly and missing out on an important aspect that should be included. In my last couple blogs (http://parentedge.in/educationcareer/finding-best-fit-colleges-part-1-your-preferences) and(http://parentedge.in/educationcareer/finding-best-fit-colleges-part-2-researching-the-schools), I wrote about how to narrow from the broad range of colleges down to a list of about 50 schools that would incorporate your broad preferences and group them into categories based on the selectivity to get into them, considering your own academic profile. At this point, you would also likely have received an initial Master List of Colleges. If not, better contact me soon to get going on that. That was the Breadth element of solving this problem. The last step in that process was to make some quick slashes, or picks, to narrow this list down to about 20 schools. I mentioned that this need not be a perfect process, as we can always return to the master list later, but that we need to bring the number of schools down to a more manageable number for more in-depth research.
As we move into the Depth part of this process, we are attempting to determine if this is a “right-fit” school. This will require more intensive research of the colleges. For most students, it is not feasible to visit all of the schools on this short list, so we are going to need to review the school online. The problem with that is that most colleges have amazing websites, filled with beautiful people from all corners of the planet, smiling like they are in paradise. There are also endless pages, and many of them are quite clearly marketing to the masses. So our process needs intent. Since our goal is to find “right fit”, we should start by defining YOU! And what you want. I suggest that you use a simple tabular format for your research. This will have two columns and three main rows, with sub rows in each area, see below. The left hand side will be you, and the right hand side will be the school that you are researching. The YOU column is focused on three main areas and described below: