One of the biggest challenges of applying to colleges is deciding to which particular schools you should apply. If you don't have the ability to visit schools, there are many other resources that can help you learn about a college. For example, virtual tours, alumni, current students, and college fairs can all help you get more information about a school. Also, the NextGenVest snapchat channel features a different college tour every day, so you can ask questions directly over snapchat to a student who attends a college that interests you (snapcode: nextgenvest)!
Making Your List
To get started deciding which schools to apply to, you should make a list of the certain qualities that you're looking for in a college. Consider the size of the school, location, and degrees and majors offered. Then you can get into more specific details such as what programs are available (dual degree, honors, and study abroad etc), as well as a certain club or sport in which you'd really like to participate. However, the importance of each of these characteristics varies from person to person. Thus, you should make a note of how important each quality is to you. This is a good way to get some key points jotted down so you can start researching and visiting schools that fit your criteria.
Visiting College Fairs
College fairs are extremely useful because they give you the opportunity to get to know more about a college directly from a representative of that school. Not only that, but they also help you make yourself known to the college. Before you get to the fair, plan out which tables you want to visit so you can use your time wisely. If a table is too crowded, go to other ones in the meantime and you can return to that table once people have left. You should go to schools that interest you, not just the most prestigious ones. You should also leave some time to visit three random tables because you might discover a new school that you never knew existed and come to like it. College fairs are the perfect places to find hidden gems! Make sure to always be polite and professional when speaking with college reps.
Alumni and Current Students
Talking to current students is a good way to learn more about a school from a student's perspective. Students can offer valuable insights that administrative officials can't provide. Students will give you advice that is more honest, especially when it comes to the negative aspects of a school. Thus, a student/alumnus can help you figure out what life at a certain school is like and whether you would like to attend that school.
Words of Advice
Many consider prestige an important factor in choosing a school, but what's more important is finding a school that suits you and is affordable. Finding your ideal school is challenging, so when searching for colleges, don't immediately cross off those schools that don't seem ideal. You might still come to like it! That's where talking to current students and alumni can come into play. Although it might seem scary to make a call to an alumnus or a current student, the people who are willing to speak with you are really nice and insightful, which makes the call totally worth it.