Many people have told me one of the most frustrating things that plaques the college search process is not really knowing exactly what to look for in making the right college choice. There are certain things you need to know right away about a school before going further.

Imagine attending a college fair or visiting a college rep in your school’s guidance office. This is the kind of information you should gather from them:

  1. Size and social/academic make up of campus
  2. Location and proximity to home
  3. Faculty to student ratio
  4. Cost of attendance- “cost of attendance” means the total amount it will cost you to attend one year, based on your major…all fees, tuition and room and board
  5. What are the requirements to attend- ACT/SAT test scores, transcripts & grades, essay, entrance exam
  6. The cost of attendance
  7. The types of financial aid and scholarships available to help pay for college
  8. Scholarships I’m receiving or being offered from a particular college
  9. Do they carry my major, and what is the background on its success?
  10. Social life on (and off) campus- based on your interests, ask about it (lifestyle, student activities, diverse organizations with which to be involved)

I would recommend printing off this list and keeping it with you. If you have a few colleges that you are thinking about, visit them online or in person. Get these statements answered. Be objective and get as much of each of these above statements complete for each school. Then you can make some comparisons and the picture starts to look better for you. If you do not know what colleges to consider, go to your guidance office a local library or just go online to check out the types of institutions you would consider. Check out the latest blogs or “college search” information that is available to you.

Your Success is My Success,

Keith Lipke

I’m a careers and college recruiter, coach, public speaker and leader at The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college

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  1. As an independent college counselor, I agree that getting started on a college search is one of the hardest parts. I think you have come up with some important factors that should give college-bound students a place to begin. I usually suggest students make a large list of schools and then narrow them down as they check out the factors and how the schools match up.


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