3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Narrowing Your College Search

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3 min read

Now is a great time to focus on what you’re looking for in a prospective college. There are many great choices out there, but it’s important to know what criteria is at the top of your list. When narrowing your college search, it’s critical to ask yourself questions regarding what you’re honestly looking for out of a potential school, how you’ll be financing your education, and what type of student life you’re wanting to experience.

Hoping to zero in on the right college for you? Keep reading to learn three questions to ask yourself with narrowing your college search.

College search question #1: “What am I actually looking for in a school?”

It’s time to be honest with yourself about what you want from your college experience in order to find a school that best suits your goals. Are you looking for a specific major? Researching the programs that offer the best courses and opportunities in said major can help you narrow down your search. Perhaps you’ve realized that location is more important to you than you initially thought. If this is the case, go through your list geographically to narrow your choices.

Set aside some time outside of school, your extracurricular activities, and time with friends to make a list of the top three things you’re looking for in a college. This can include criteria like:

  • Programs offered
  • Financial aid
  • Location
  • Student life
  • On-campus living

Write your chosen criteria down and make sure you put that paper somewhere where you can keep referring to it as you make your college decision. Then, go through the colleges you’ve applied to and see how they measure up according to your top three factors. Doing this will help you consider which colleges will best serve your growth.

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College search question #2: “How will I finance my education?”

Money isn’t always a fun topic to delve into, but it’s essential to talk about cost before you make your decision. Sit down with your parents or guardians to talk about your financial plan of action. Now is a great time to apply for as many scholarships as you can, as well as educate yourself on student loans and what financial aid is available at the schools you applied to. Learn what different types of financial aid entail so that you’ll be able to understand what each school can offer you. This is a great time to gather information before all of the stress of making your final decision is present.

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College search question #3: “What kind of student life am I looking for?”

This is a bit more specific than what you’re looking for in a college. It’s really delving into what environment will work best for you and what will challenge you to become a better student and person. Perhaps you’re coming from a very small school in a small town and are ready for a more diverse student body in a bigger school so that you can learn about different perspectives. Maybe you’re looking for a school that has a thriving improv community with various groups and shows all the time. Or possibly you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed thinking about freshman year, and you know that a small and supportive freshman dorm will be essential to your growth. You can think about this on your own or you can discuss it with your parents, trusted mentors, and friends. Sometimes their feedback can illuminate what makes you happy, and that can help inform your decision as well.

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Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at blog@varsitytutors.com.