There are so many choices when it comes to college - where do I begin?
You can begin by narrowing your search and selecting some key factors that are important to you. There are some helpful online tools that can give suggestions based on your criteria including the (1) Naviance SuperMatch (located under the "Colleges" tab); (2) College Board's Big Future "Find your Future" search tool; or (3) the Compare College TX website.
In the meantime, here are some factors you might consider:
- In state vs. out-of-state
- Small school vs. large school
- Public vs. private
- Selectivity - GPA, rank, ACT/SAT requirements
- Specific major
- Extracurricular organizations - intramural sports, Greek life, service organizations, clubs
How do I know if a college is right for me?
The best way to figure out if a school is a good fit is to visit the campus. Campuses offer many opportunities throughout the year to visit their campus. Check the school's website or contact them directly to find out what their options are when it comes to Campus Visits. Here are a few examples as to what the campus may offer you as far as a visit goes:
- Preview days - large events geared toward graduating seniors which highlight various aspects of campus life.
- Campus tours - hosted by a student tour guide.
- Self-guided tour - perfect if you are just passing through or if you are on campus when the welcome center is closed. You can usually find printable tour info online.
- Online Virtual Tours - this is a great option for narrowing your list down from the comfort of your home. Keep in mind though that it is always a good idea to follow up with an in person tour before making any final decisions.
- In-depth look - programs vary by campus. These give you a closer look into specific areas of interest on campus. Some smaller schools even have programs that allow you to stay overnight in a dorm!
Should I let cost determine whether or not I apply to a school?
NO! You will not know the full scope of where you stand financially until AFTER you apply and complete the FAFSA! You should avoid what we call "sticker shock," which happens when you look at the cost of attendance, fees, room & board. This number does not take into account any financial aid you may be eligible for. You can, however, research costs using a net price calculator.
Also consider when comparing two schools - School A might have a lower tuition cost, but School B might have more financial aid to offer. Again, this is not something you would know for sure until after you complete the FAFSA.
Check out the Financial Aid page for more info!
Are you going on a college visit?
If so, take this checklist with you to ensure you get the most out of your visit.