Monday, June 17, 2024

When Should I Start Looking For Colleges

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Campus Visits In Your College Search

When Should I Start Looking at Colleges? – College Admissions 101

Imagine buying a house. You would inevitably do research online. You might even take virtual tours of the homes that appeal to you. But before you sign on the dotted line, you will need to actually walk through the house yourself. You need to step inside to see if it feels like home. And if it’s worth the investment. Its similar with colleges.

In spite of the depth and breadth of college search tools you have at your disposal, they are no exceptions to visiting campus in person. So, after you have narrowed your college list to a manageable number, its time to think about visiting their campuses.

A successful college visit will give you a real sense of what your life might be like if you enrolled thereand whether it matches what you want. Often, youll know instinctively how you feel about a campus within moments of setting foot on the quad. If you hate it, note the things that really turn you off, so you know what to look for at the next school.

The best time to visit is typically when classes are in session, the college is alive with students, faculty are accessible, and the campus is buzzing with activity. Of course, for many students and their families, summer is a much more convenient time. That’s okay too. Maybe you can make some campus stops on your way to the beach, amusement park, or family reunion. A summer visit is better than no visit at all. Most schools will have special summer visit hours too.

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Consider Your Major Or Degree Program

Obviously, your intended career path is an important factor in finding a college. If you have a particular major in mind, you should pick a college that offers a corresponding degree program. In contrast, if you are still uncertain about careers that you are interested in, then a school that offers a broad introduction to numerous topics and degrees may be preferable.

After you find college programs that fit your career path, it is also worthwhile to compare the quality of specific degree programs across universities.

On Your Mark Get Setgo

I recommend that students start the college search during their junior year of high school. By this time students have enough data to help guide them to the right college. Data includes the transcript, cum GPA, and a career interest survey. With this information students can look for colleges that have their major the student can see if they meet the admissions criteria of colleges. Students can determine if they will need to take the ACT or the SAT to satisfy the admissions requirements.

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Cost Financial Aid And Affordability

It can be a big mistake to start your college search by excluding certain schools because they have an expensive price tag . Of course, for most students and their families, college affordability will weigh heavily on their decision-making process.

However, the initial sticker price you see will seldom be the final price you pay. Most colleges and universities realize they need to help students afford their education. And financial aid changes everything. In fact, you might find the pricey school that seemed out of reach is actually your most affordable option once you get their financial aid award letter.

College students get financial support through a wide range of sources, such as academic scholarships, special ability awards , diversity grants , or on-campus employment . Students also get money based on the results of their FAFSA and/or the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE .

Also, pay attention to the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate and the four-year graduation rate in your college cost research, because they often signify a schools true value. For example, a “cheaper” school may be less of a bargain if a low percentage of students actually graduate in four years. And a more expensive school with a higher four-year graduation rate may actually be the better value.

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Identify Your Priorities And Preferences

Building Your College Application Plan

The first step in tackling the college search process involves thinking about what you want out of your college experience. There are some essential qualities that differentiate colleges from one another that you should consider first, such as location, size, cost, and academic programs. You should also contemplate what you want out of the social scene and academic climate at your college. Then, you can search for schools that fit your needs across a variety of different dimensions.

Here’s a list of the first four factors you should consider when searching for colleges:

#1: Location

Do you want to be far away or close to home? Attending an in-state school can mean a lower tuition price, but it may stunt your college experience if you continue to rely on your family and old friends. You should also consider whether you’re interested in a rural, urban, or small town college environment. The surrounding area can have a big impact on your happiness and comfort level.

#2: Size

Large and small colleges often have very different vibes. You’re more likely to get personalized attention at small colleges, but they might have fewer resources and less diversity amongst students. You should research each college individually, but there are certain characteristics shared by most large or small colleges that might lead you to prefer one type over the other.

#3: Academics

#4: Cost

College represents a crossroads in many ways.

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How Early Should I Start My Job Search

Depending on your unique circumstances, two to three months is an adequate time frame to line up a job before you need it. Sometimes the hiring and interviewing processes can take a few weeks to a few months, but applying for jobs several months in advance can ensure enough time for your job transition.

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Contact Going Ivy For Help

Getting accepted to the college of your dreams is a marathon rather than a sprint. By taking the long view and beginning early in your preparatory process, you may stand a better chance of being accepted to the school of your choice. The professionals at Going Ivy can help you throughout the entire process. Call us today to get started on your journey.

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Where To Find And Research Colleges

After going through the college search criteria above, you can start looking for the best schools for you. Yup, it’s finally time to fire up those college search tools! And there are tons of other resources you should use to find out more about the schools on your list.

Try to be open-minded as you research colleges. Be cautious about adding schools just because they are considered prestigious. Conversely, be open to colleges you may not be familiar with. You never know what youll find until you really dive into your college search.

Keep all of your college research together, and add your criteria and key data points for each college to your . You will also start to accumulate notes from campus visits, talks with counselors and admission reps, brainstorming activities, etc.

Finally, remember: finding colleges that meet your search criteria is just the tip of the iceberg. Just because a school has your favorite major doesnt mean its necessarily the right college fit for you. You should get to know your potential collegesand if it’s truly the right choice for you.

Research Colleges That Fit Your Criteria

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Once you have a general idea of what types of colleges and universities interest you, the next step is to start researching colleges that fit your criteria. There are numerous types of colleges out there. First, ask yourself if you prefer an online school, a two-year college or a four-year college.

Perhaps you don’t know the answer to this question just yet. To get a better idea, try talking to friends and family about the pros and cons of each type of program. Review brochures and visit different types of campuses. Also, do research online to gain insight from experts about what to expect from all three types of colleges.

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Athletics And Other Extracurriculars

A lot of your time in college will be spent in activities outside the classroomas it should be!

College extracurriculars span virtually every interest you can imagine, from academic clubs to cultural groups to theater troupes to intramural sports. Campus clubs can also help you figure out what major is right for you or if youre on the right career track. And they can help you develop all kinds of useful skills, from teamwork to creative problem solving .

If youre serious about sports, athletics can also add a whole new dimension to your college search too. Student-athletes should start by realistically assessing their abilities and considering which schools are most likely to give them a team jersey. Talk to the coaches at your high school and at the colleges youre interested in and ask them to evaluate your chances of being formally recruited for your sport.

Questions to ask:

  • Does the college offer what Im looking for when Im not in class?
  • What kinds of extracurricular opportunities exist on campus in art, music, theater, community service, athletics, etc.?
  • How many students participate in extracurriculars?
  • Are there clubs or pre-professional associations related to my major or intended career?
  • Can students start their own clubs? How easy is it to do?
  • What is the athletic recruitment process like?
  • What athletic conference and division is the school?

Pick Your Courses Strategically

When it comes to high school classes, picking the right or wrong ones can inform your high school experience. For more information on picking high school courses, check out this CollegeVine guide: How to Pick Your High School Courses Freshman and Sophomore Years.

While sophomore year might seem like its filled with uncertainties and unanswered questions, there is no reason to fret! Your second year in high school is a great time to begin thinking about applying to colleges, and there are plenty of resources available to help you do so. To help you on your journey towards college, be sure to check out our free guide for 10th graders. Our guide goes in-depth about subjects ranging from academics, choosing courses, standardized tests, extracurricular activities, and much more!

Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. Well also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. to get started!

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Preparing For College Starts Freshman Year Of High School

This fall, my oldest child starts high school, a critical coming-of-age experience most noteworthy because this is the last time she will start a new school thats within ten minutes of our house. The next school she attends will be college, which is both exciting and seriously stressful.

In just a couple of years, my daughter will spend agonizing hours preparing for SATS, writing essays, and filling out college applications. Just thinking about it makes my mom brain go into panic mode.

Will she have the right activities and accolades to put on those applications?

What does she need to do in high school to be competitive?

Am I worrying for no reason?

Is freshman year too early to start prepping for college applications?

I dont have the answers, so I decided to ask those who do. According to the experts, it is important to start thinking about preparing for college applications as early as possible.

Your College Planning Timeline For Regular Deadlines

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In many ways, your college planning timeline for regular decision will be similar to the timeline for applying for early admission–but with some key differences. You have to consider how busy the fall of senior year is, both for you and for your teachers and counselors.

If your senior year schedule is packed with challenging courses and after school involvements, then you still might want to work on your essay over the summer months, when you have more time and focus for it. You also might still ask for your recommendations in September, or at least October. Some teachers set a cap on how many letters they’ll write, and they probably don’t want to spend their entire winter holiday writing letters. Try to ask early in the fall semester.

When you apply for regular decision, you might have one more opportunity to take the SAT or ACT in December. It’s still advisable to take it at least once in junior year, and many students take it twicein the fall of 11th grade and again in the spring. Again, you want to think about your schedule in the fall and how to best balance putting together a strong college application with all your other assignments, clubs, and/or sports.

Finally, some schools don’t have set deadlines at all and are flexible about when applications arrive. This option is called rolling admissions.

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The Right Behavior: Be Careful About Your Online Presence

We have all seen the stories of students who have lost out on opportunities for college acceptance because of inappropriate social media behavior. Its advice worth repeating, and heeding.

Never put anything online that could be detrimental to your college applications, no matter how secure you think the site is, says Phyllis Zimbler Miller of CollegePrep.

Remind your teen that anything shared on social media will be accessible to college admissions staff and could affect their acceptance.

Search For Schools Using An Online College Finder

After you’ve figured out your preferences, the easiest way to find schools that you like is to use an online college finder tool to search based on your criteria.

One option that you might consider initially is College Navigator. You can specify location, size, major program, public or private, tuition, test scores, and more in your search. This tool will give you all the statistics on different schools and help you locate options that seem like the right fit. As you investigate the results of your search, add schools to your “favorites” and compare them side by side to see how they differ. This might eliminate some options based on factors like cost and admissions rate.

A screenshot of the College Navigator search tool

Another site to investigate is Cappex. Cappex is a college matchmaking site where you can fill out a profile and get matched up with schools that align with your preferences. The site provides suggestions for schools that you might like after you complete your profile. It has a pretty complete overview of each school including student reviews and information about campus life that might not be included in the College Navigator statistics.

If you find schools that you like, you can add them to your running list and compare them against each other. Cappex also links directly to the application pages for schools on your list of favorites, so you can check out what materials you’re expected to submit.

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When To Apply For College: Complete Timeline

Many students start college in the fall after they graduate high school, but their planning and applying starts years before. Application deadlines may be in the fall or winter of senior year, and completing each step on the path to college might start as early as freshman year.

This article answers all your questions about when to apply for college: when do you complete each step of the process, and when are your college deadlines? After reading this, you’ll know exactly when to apply to college and what steps are needed.

Colleges Want To Help

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If you find yourself struggling with covering the high cost of college tuition, you are not alone! With the state of the economy, financial aid officials are working hard to accommodate students in all financial situations.

To have the highest chance of receiving the money you need, it is best to start early! Contact your prospective colleges to find out their policy on financial aid, and make time to visit their websites where helpful information may be posted.

In addition, a number of colleges offer payment plans to help students manage the cost of their education without going into debt. Heres a list of almost 250 online colleges offering monthly payment plans to their students.

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Remain Organized And Learn To Manage Your Time Well

While college might be on your mind as a sophomore, it is more important that you are able to stay on top of your work in high school and balance this workload with your extracurriculars, family responsibilities, and other after school activities. Time management skills will come in handy not only in high school, but also in college and even beyond! Check out this post on time management: Eight Tips to Use Your Time Efficiently and Stay Organized in High School.

What Time Of Year Is Best

Visiting colleges during the summer is convenient, but it doesnt always give you the best or honest view of the college or university. Its hard to get an accurate picture of how busy the student union becomes and how difficult it can be to walk from one part of the campus to the other between classes. Your student also wont have an accurate feel for how hell interact with faculty when theres a lot of students around.

So when should you schedule your campus visit? The best time during the week is from Monday to Thursday. The campus is busy with students going from class to class or mingling around.

The best season to visit colleges is at the beginning of the fall session. The time various from college to college and includes late-summer to the early of September. Spring time can also be ideal especially for students who plan to participate in athletics or are considering early application deadlines.

Dont go to colleges during mid-term or final examination weeks. Those times are similar to summer, they wont give you an accurate view of the college.

Also, dont visit colleges during:

  • Christmas week
  • Reading periods

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