Each and every student has strengths and weaknesses that they will carry with them to college. Unfortunately, too often students find themselves not researching colleges, not applying to enough college, and ultimately deciding on the colleges that accept them. If you know a student who is close to graduating high school and unsure of where they want to go to college, these tips can help them make good, informed decisions about their future.


Using Online College Comparing Sites


According to CollegeBoard, there are 3,762 college options within the United States alone. It’s not feasible to research every single university, but you can easily narrow down your search by using a site like CollegeBoard.com. CollegeBoard allows you to filter your search for colleges by a variety of different filters like location, academic credit, majors, housing options, and more. Once you go through each filter you care about, CollegeBoard will give you a list of colleges and universities that fit your criteria.


Plan a Visit


It’s unbelievable how many students decide to attend any college without first visiting it and getting a feel for it. College is a major investment of money and time for every student, and visiting will help them decide whether or not it’s a right fit. I don’t know anyone who would buy a home without taking a tour first or buy a car without a test drive, and visiting a college is along those same lines.


Apply to Several Schools


PrepScholar’s website explains that there is no right or wrong number when it comes to applying for schools, but on average 6-8 applications should be sent out. The reasoning behind this is that 2 or more of them will be ones the student wants to get into but may not get accepted, 2 or more of them are ones that the student likes and will probably be accepted, and 2 or more should be ones the students will assuredly be accepted into. It’s important to realize that applying for so many colleges does come with a hefty price tag, but it’s better to apply for too many than not enough.


If your student is certain they do not want to attend a specific school, make sure they don’t waste their time or money in applying. Even if they do get accepted, if it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good investment.


Make a Pro/Con List


Once the acceptance letters start pouring in, the time to start thinking about decisions has inevitably come. Every school has its downsides and positive attributes, so the student should think about what downsides are more important and which are less important. From there, the student can begin listing the colleges from order of their interest.