The College Search- How to find the college that is right for you

I love this graphic as it is just the start to how 17-year olds can think about college. This month students are starting to investigate colleges to begin to determine what is important to them in their next educational adventure. This graphic comes from a New York Times article, “How to Choose a College” and I think it is a good read for both parents and students. The author presents s

ome of his suggestions of things to consider like the number of students from other countries (as a sign of an international environment) and the percentage of students who study abroad. The goal this month and the month to come is to really start to think about what is important to you, what you value in your education and how you can find a school that matches up with your priorities. Rest assured, many students change their priorities during the college process and we are adept at handing changes because all our students are still maturing and growing.

Next month we will delve into college visits, but this month we urge students to look beyond the simple numbers of average test scores and teacher to student ratios to dig deeper into the possible areas of study, prerequisite classes and campus priorities. Google a few of the ideas below to learn more about the colleges your are investigating.

The name of the school and “traditions”

“Freshman advising”

“Message from the college President” (see blog post )

“Course bulletin or catalog” to understand different majors and prerequisites

“Freshman experience programs”


For our clients we are sending you a values sort that we do with our students as they start the college search process. Although many have done it in our office, we encourage you to do it as a family to start talking about priorities as you begin to investigate colleges. Are student and parent priorities the same or different?

We are also sending a little game for you to match successful Americans and their alma mater. Just another way to think about what you do in college may be more important that where you go.


 1. Research 6-10 colleges on your list

2. Write a list of all of your activities and then put them in the following groups Volunteer and Community Service/ Extracurricular Activities/ Work. Make sure to talk with your family and see if there is anything you are missing. Once you have all of your activities, put a star next to the 5 activities that are the most important to you.

3. Take your top 5 activities and write a paragraph about each activity. Read the question below to guide your paragraph.

Identify and describe up to five of your most significant activities and achievements during grades 9-12. Write about why this activity or achievement had meaning for you. Tell us about your highest level of achievement or honor you attained; any responsibilities you had; and the contribution you believe you made to your school, community, or organization. Don’t just describe the activity or achievement: tell us what it says about you.

4. Update your activities in Naviance, making sure you have everything from the list above in Naviance. Also fill in a line or two describing what you do for each of your activities.

5. Keep up the good work studying and practicing for your standardized tests.

6. Print out a copy of your transcript to have on hand.