Your College Guide

Things You Should Consider When Looking at Colleges

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Before you start your senior year in high school, it’s important to get a head start on finalizing your college list so that you can get your letters of recommendation in order, update your resume, and start college essays via the Common App. Senior year will speed by with all the numerous assignments and activities planned, leaving you only one week away from submission deadlines.  To prevent high stress levels caused by deadlines and last minute requirements, it is vital that you have a final college list as soon as possible. When looking at colleges you want to apply to, it’s important to consider these five categories.



Make sure that the college has your preferred major and look for some minors you might be interested in. Even if you are not sure what you’d like to major in, be sure that the colleges you are looking at have fields you might be interested in. Research their websites and know where they rank nationally, what they specialize in, and their job success rates.



Classroom Size

Consider how you like to learn. Do you prefer a large classroom setting with a huge gap between teacher to student ratio, or a smaller classroom size? If you are not sure, look at both types of colleges and look at virtual tours on youtube to help you get a better sense of what it’s like.



City or Small town? East coast or international? Be sure that you consider all possibilities of where you want to go to college. Consider what kind of weather you like, atmosphere you want to be in, and how far from home you are willing to go. If you still find yourself unsure, a college visit is definitely a good idea.



Make sure you have schools that are affordable or can be with financial aid and or scholarships. Consider the yearly tuition for a student in state or out of state, amount of books, transportation fees, housing plans, and meal plans.


Know the Deadlines for Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision

It’s important to note the application deadlines for early action, early decision, and regular decision. It will help you plan out when you need your letters of recommendation, when you need to write your essays, and when you need to fill out the FAFSA.


If the college application process seems daunting, take it one step at a time. First find possible majors you are interested in, then find colleges that are nationally ranked in those programs, and then look at their campus environment.  Ask your counselors and parents for advice, attend college workshops, the OLP college camp, and the college fair hosted by OLP. You might even be lucky and discover that one of your teachers attended the college you are considering. Do not stress so much. Establish a timeline to help keep you on track and ready for application season. Trust me: in the end everything will work out and you will be holding acceptance letters before you know it.

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