College Search Tips

1. Get to know YOU

When and where are you most comfortable? Big social gatherings or more private settings? At the library? On the couch, computer in your lap? Or maybe cramming with your friends? Think about what you really want out of school. Even if you don’t know your major, think about the experience you want to have.

2. Brainstorm

When starting your college search, begin listing universities and colleges that are on your radar whether you know anything about them or not. Include any local schools. Then you can use more detailed analysis to narrow your choices.

3. To Travel or Not

If you have a choice, you need to decide if you’re going to attend college in town or away from home. And this can be a big choice, so think about what environment you’d be most comfortable in … and what’s practical. Even if you’re going to school in town, you might want to live in the dorms. It’s your experience — make the most of it.

4. Area of Study

This is always high on the list, but you may not know what you want to major in … and that’s OK. A large percentage of college freshmen are undecided. But you owe it to yourself to see what majors a school has, what programs they’re known for, and what the academic environment is like. If you do have a major in mind, or know for sure, research the subject online. Meeting with someone from that department or at least emailing them is a great step too. The admissions department can put you in touch with faculty.

5. Read!

If you’re getting inundated with college brochures, it can be overwhelming, but those brochures can actually help you. Don’t just set them aside — really check them out. They offer a great way to compare schools through statistics, language and even photography . A brochure can say a lot about a school, and you can use them as tools for narrowing your search. Keep the ones that interest you as a visual aid.

6. Don’t Be Shy

Today, a student’s first contact with a school is often through an application. In this case, colleges don’t really know if you’re serious about their school or if they are just one of 10 (or more) schools to which you’ve applied. Get on their radar! The emails and mail you get from the college will help stay you on track and will alert you to important financial aid and scholarship information.

7. Ask Away

Whether it’s researching online or actually contacting admission counselors, finding out some basics will help you narrow your college search.

Here are just a few questions to get you started when selecting a college or university:

  • What percentage of students receive financial aid each year?
  • What scholarships are available, and how do you apply for them?
  • What is the faculty/student ratio?
  • What is the average class size?
  • Do faculty teach most of the classes or are assistants doing a lot of instruction?
  • What kind of accreditations does the school have?
  • Are my favorite extracurricular interests available (athletics, intramurals, drama, art, service projects, etc.)?

8. Visit Campus

No doubt you’ve heard this. But it’s true. This is where your gut instinct really comes into play. On paper or online, the school might look like a great fit (or, conversely, might just seem “OK”), but when you get to campus, you might get a completely different feel. Meet some faculty and current students, take a tour, check out the facilities, and generally explore and observe. Ask a lot of questions. That’s what the visit is for!

Can’t visit? Look for online blogs, videos, photos and virtual tours.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact our Office of Admission: 314-889-1400 or 1-800-205-5862 |