As a high school junior, now is the perfect time to start your college search, if you haven’t already begun. Choosing a college is an important decision, but getting an early start is key to making it less stressful. If you start thinking and exploring your options now, you’ll have plenty of time to gather the information you need to make the choice when senior year arrives. Here a few quick tips to jump start your search:
Make a list about you
Get started by making a list about you. If you know what you want to major in, that’s a great place to start. If not, maybe you have a general idea of what you want to study (business, art, etc.). No idea? That’s okay too. Think about what type of school you might like. Big or small? Nearby or far away? In the city or in a smaller community? Just start with whatever ideas you do have about college, and don’t worry about what you don’t know right now. Whatever your thoughts are, add them to the list.
Next, start peeking around at schools online. Check out their course catalogs to get a sense of what classes and majors might interest you. If something strikes a chord, add it to your list. Take a virtual tour of any school that interests you. Take note of what you do and don’t find appealing about each one.
Make an appointment with your school counselor
Now that you’ve got a few thoughts pulled together, make an appointment with your school counselor to talk about how to move your search forward. Bring your list of thoughts and ideas. Your counselor may have suggestions for schools you should explore or additional ideas about what your next steps should be.
Go to a college fair
If your school hosts a college night, be sure to attend. You can talk with representatives from different schools and gather information about them to review later.
Talk to people
In addition to talking with college reps, talk with the people in your life—friends, neighbors, relatives, teachers. People love to ask high school students about their college plans, right? Turn the tables—you ask the questions! You can learn a lot by asking current and former college students where they went to school, if they liked it, what they majored in, and what they might have done differently. Take it all in as food for thought.