As a high school senior, it can be overwhelming trying to determine which college is best for you. There are so many questions: “What do I want to study? Where do I want to go? When do I want to go? What can I afford? What can my parents afford? Should I live at home, in the dorm, or off-campus?” Let’s break this down a bit and focus on the following areas.
Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
One of the first things that should be done is complete the FAFSA. Every year, thousands of students who have a very good chance of receiving federal aid do not receive any at all, simply because they neglected to fill out a form that takes about 30-45 minutes. For assistance with completing this form, use these helpful tools found on our website. You can also reach out to any of our EducationQuest offices to set up an appointment with a College Planning Specialist.
Determine your needs vs your wants.
For some, it would be wonderful to attend a seaside school that’s warm all year round, or an ivy league university somewhere on the east coast. However, students and parents need to weigh those options carefully and determine what is needed vs what is wanted. For instance, a seaside school may not include a specific program that the student wants to pursue; or an ivy league university may not be affordable and might be too far away. Narrow down those options and focus on the school that fulfills your financial and educational needs. And don’t forget to ScholarshipQuest from EducationQuest…why not be rewarded for all of your hard work in high school?!?
Do your research…find the right personal fit.
Once you’ve gotten the financial and educational aspects figured out, do some research and figure out which schools would make you happy. First, start with some virtual visits on each school’s website. This is a great way to get a 3-dimensional idea of what the college looks like and to get a feel for the general layout of the school. Also, utilize the College Profiles section of the EducationQuest website to compare different colleges side-by-side. Last, schedule some campus visits during the school year once your final choices have been nailed down; make sure it’s during the week and on a day when students aren’t on a scheduled break. Ask questions such as…What is student life like on campus? What clubs can you join? What are some pros and cons of living in the dorms? Are you able to effectively communicate with the faculty if issues arise?
Keeping a focus on the above areas will ensure that you’re choosing a college for all the right reasons. Just remember, you always have options!