The conversations usually start during your sophomore year of high school. "Do you know where you’re going to college?" "It will be here before you know it." Most high school students don’t give much thought to such college talk with graduation still a year or two away. At first, you may realize that you need to gear up your activities and prepare for standardized tests like the ACT and the SAT. Of course, you will meet with your guidance counselor to choose the right high school classes and ensure you are on track for college admission requirements. As the weeks and months of high school move along, you realize that shortly, you'll be in the thick of applying to colleges, planning campus visits and cranking out essays. Applying to college can be a rite of passage; it is the catalyst for some of the most important years of your life. Before you begin the college application process, however, you need to find colleges that are right for you in terms of both your personality and your academic goals.
Finding the right college begins with personality—both yours and the campus personality of the various colleges and universities. WiseChoice will help you explore what makes each school unique. How big is the school? What is the vibe on campus? Is the campus more conservative or more liberal? Does the college have a unique cultural identity, such as that found at a religious institution or at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU)? Is there a Greek presence on campus where most students participate in fraternities and sororities? Are there many commuter students? The list goes on and on. The answers to these questions are just some of the aspects that, when combined, make up the personality of a college.
On one hand, there is the personality of the school, and on the other hand, there's you. You have activities, goals and preferences that make you an individual. Your challenge is to find colleges that have personalities that match your own—you need to find your college match. You already have a variety of resources to aid you; some will provide subjective inputs and some will provide objective inputs. Your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers and guidance counselor can share their experiences and speak to the nature or personality of a college. They can also give you advice on the type of school you might like. Talk to all of them. Ask questions and don't hesitate to solicit advice. Don't forget about the WiseChoice system; it includes a unique personality assessment and then generates a personality report to help you learn about the ideal college environment for you.
Many pragmatic and objective ways exist to help you find the right college. We can suggest several college guides that are excellent reference points. These resources contain a wealth of information that is useful when making judgements about various schools. College reviews may also be of help when exploring schools and learning about various college cultures and campus personalities.
The WiseChoice website is one of the most comprehensive sets of tools you will find when it comes to exploring schools and finding the right colleges for you. WiseChoice has a massive collection of college information — everything you'll find in a guide or review book, easily organized and up-to-date — and much, much more.
Once you have identified colleges that look like a good fit, you will want to schedule some campus visits. By visiting the colleges, you can get a very real sense of student life, and also get all the information you need about offered academic and sports programs. The WiseChoice College Visit Planner will help you stay on top of your visit dates, and offers a checklist of things to do before, during and after your campus trip.
Sometimes, in the college exploration process, students consider hiring a private college consultant. An independent educational consultant works with families to help students identify "best fit" colleges and to complete the application process. These consultants typically charge fees of varying amounts and offer a range of services. Whether or not students plan to work with college consultants, the WiseChoice system can also be of great help with all steps of the college planning process.
Preparation and knowledge are key to finding the right college for you. Utilizing all your resources and having an asset like WiseChoice can help you find your dream school.
Go into the process with an open mind and a positive attitude, and you'll find colleges that fit.Return to Finding Colleges for You
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