Step-by-Step College Search

How to Find the Perfect College for Your College-Bound Student

Your senior year is full of excitement. As that long-anticipated end nears, you realize why that final ceremony is called commencement. After the ceremony and the graduation party, you realize it’s only just begun.

You know the next step is college. Choosing the right college can seem overwhelming. Taking one step at a time can make the process exciting and fun. Follow the steps here to make the transition to college a smooth one.

  • See your counselor early and often. The counselor’s office has a wealth of information to help with every step of the decision-making process.
  • Picture your ideal college. Once you’ve decided on important factors, search for schools that fit your needs. Try our SuperMatch® search engine, which allows you to rank your search criteria to find the best match.
  • Take virtual tours. Many schools’ websites feature virtual tours, which give you a taste of campus life through maps, photos of campus, videos, and student testimonials.
  • Visit the colleges. Virtual tours are helpful initially, but you also need to visit the campus. If admissions and financial aid personnel meet you now, they’ll have a face and a story to match up with your application when it arrives on their desk. Walking around campus on your own is as important as taking a guided tour; you need to decide if it feels right.
  • Look into taking admissions tests. Do your selected colleges prefer the ACT or the SAT?
  • Be sure to apply early. Many colleges have early deadlines; some offer scholarships to those who apply before a certain date.
  • Stay focused on your senior year coursework. You’re excited about taking this next step in your life, but you can’t go to college if you fall behind in your high school classes.

The best advice for high school students is this: Don’t procrastinate. Begin early. Take one step at a time and have fun!


This article was written by Sally Wood

Sally Wood is a freelance writer and editor from Marionville, Missouri. She worked as a high school counselor in the Aurora R-VIII School District in Aurora, Missouri, from 1980–2000.

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