Researching Colleges: The Many, Varied Ways

“Here’s your college list, now go research these schools.” This is something you might hear from your parents, school counselor or even college counselor. At Campus Bound, we provide more direction than that in general, but in this blog we outline some of the ways students can research colleges and give our opinions on them.

  1. Books: Books are great! Colleges That Change Lives, The Fiske Guide to Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges are a few that we tend to recommend. You can usually get these from a local bookstore, or on Amazon for relatively cheap (buy last year’s version for even more reduced cost- they generally don’t change that much from year to year). You can even borrow from the library. Find a cozy spot on the couch and read up!
  2. College’s Own Websites: When we say to look at college websites, this is generally to track down academic information, details about clubs or sports, or other programs such as study abroad. It’s easiest to go in with a specific intention. When you’re on the college’s homepage, use the search tool to type in the major you want, or the club you’d like to join, etc. Navigating college websites should be easy, but this isn’t always the case. Do your best to find class listings and other aspects of the school that are important to you. You can also often find virtual tours on colleges’ websites that can be helpful.
  3. Subjective College Websites: Some websites like niche.com, unigo.com and others are basically like Trip Advisor for colleges. People leave their personal, subjective review about a school. Don’t let one angry review taint your entire picture of a school. Take it all with a huge grain of salt.
  4. College Search Sites: Some sites like Collegeboard.com and Naviance have college search features. They allow you to input your college preferences and they will generate a list of schools. These can help narrow down the field a bit, and do provide some helpful, though general, information.
  5. College Social Media: Another way to learn about a school is by following the school on social media. You can figure out the school’s values, personality, etc. You can sometimes also learn about upcoming admissions events.
  6. College Visits: Perhaps the best way to learn about a college is by taking a tour. You will be able to see first hand what the campus, students and classrooms are like. You will also hear from the tour guide the important things that set that school apart from others.

There are many ways to research colleges, and you have to pick the ones that are right for you. Your Campus Bound counselor can point you in the right direction. Happy researching!

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