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The leaves have begun to turn vibrant shades of crimson and gold. The air, once ripe with the sweet fragrance of blooming flowers, now wafts by with smoky notes of charred wood. It can only mean one thing. Autumn has arrived, and with it the time to apply to college.

It’s hard to believe, right? You have literally spent years preparing for this moment, but it can still be hard to know where to begin. So, let’s begin…at the beginning.

What to study

If you want to be a diesel mechanic you don’t necessarily need a four-year liberal arts degree from the Ivy Leagues. Check out local community colleges or trade schools. Conversely, if you have always dreamed of becoming a journalist, focus your search on four-year liberal arts universities with solid programs. Undecided? That’s ok! You have plenty of time to figure it out. Look for a college that will allow you to explore a variety of subjects without breaking the bank. 

Take a tour

Have you always envisioned yourself at a large public university or do you vibe with a smaller private college experience? The good news is there’s no right or wrong answer. You just need to find the right fit for you. The best way to do that is to visit. Whether you do it in person or virtually, campus visits are the best way to get a sense of place and whether you feel at home. Don’t miss EducationQuest’s fall Virtual College Fairs, which are a great way to find out more about more than 75 colleges across the region from the comfort of your couch. 

Narrow it down

Now that you have some idea of what you want to study and the type of experience you’re looking for, narrow your college choices down to three or four and get to work on those applications. Remember, each college requires its own application and many require a fee to apply. Save time and money by applying only to those schools you are most serious about attending. 

Beware of looming deadlines

Contact your top college choices and ask about deadlines to apply for admission and college-based scholarships. Most will hit in December or January. 

Money, money, money

First things first. File your FAFSA ASAP at Our free FAFSA Tools will help you with that process. Take a good, hard look at how much it will actually cost you to attend any college of interest. Include all of the costs: tuition, books, fees, room, board, transportation, and other personal incidentals. Many colleges list their costs as per credit hour or per semester, so calculate accordingly. If you plan to attend an out-of-state school find out of there will be additional costs added to your tuition.

Make a list and check it twice

We have a ton of free resources on our website to help you with your college selection process. Use our college application checklist to prepare. You can also access these free resources online.

Remember, we are here for you when you need us. If questions arise or you need additional help with college planning, contact the EducationQuest office nearest you. Go get ‘em!