The most important part of the college selection process is the initial identification of colleges and universities which are most appropriate for you. Soliciting recommendations from your school counselor is a good starting point, but there are many other valuable resources you should utilize.
Most guidance offices and public libraries have a collection of "generic" college guides with general information about individual colleges and helpful indexes enabling readers to quickly locate colleges offering particular majors, programs, and/or activities of interest. In addition, guidance offices and libraries are frequently well stocked with college catalogues, college viewbooks, and videos.
Spend some time reviewing them.
There is even more, easier to access information on the internet. One of my websites (http://www.
college-scholarships.com), for instance, includes a list of colleges by state with links to their websites and online applications, their toll free telephone numbers and email addresses, and more than thirty free online scholarship searches. Other sites let you search for colleges by major, location, and other criteria.
There are a number of magazines and college guides which "rank" colleges. Check them out, but do so with a grain of salt, as most knowledgeable educators consider their rankings and or evaluative methodology to be suspect.
In addition, there are at least a half dozen free publications which are mailed directly to students or distributed to guidance offices. While such magazines may be helpful in introducing you to colleges, bear in mind that they are supported by the colleges described therein, and even those that appear to "articles" about colleges are generally, in reality, advertisements written by the colleges or agencies compensated by them.
When you take the SAT or ACT - and I suggest you take them both as a high school junior - you will be asked questions about your high school grades and academic interests. If you indicate your willingness to allow the testing agency to release your name and address to colleges interested in students with your profile, you will probably receive a good deal of mail from colleges. Although there are no guarantees, particularly from the most highly select colleges, your chances of being admitted to the colleges which initiate contact with you tend to range from good to excellent.
Students who review only the information sent to them by colleges with which they are already familiar miss an excellent potential opportunity to learn about institutions which may be a good "fit" for them.
Similarly, if you meet only with college admissions counselors (at your high school and at college fairs) from colleges and universities already on your list, you might miss out on some great colleges.
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Dan Rosenfield is a university dean who creates websites on college admission, college scholarships, and online degrees and distance education, including www.college-scholarships.com and www.online-degrees-and-scholarships.
com, and www.guaranteed-scholarships.com in his spare time. Contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org. .
By: Dan Rosenfield - -