Guide to Saving for College
Okay, this probably sounds like a trick question. How do you find colleges? Well that’s easy, right? Just hop on your computer, type in “college” in the search engine and see what you come up with. While you’ll undoubtedly come across many colleges this way, you certainly won’t find anything that pertains to you specifically. At least not without looking through many, many results pages!
There are ways to make a standard search engine work for you for this type of search, but there are also specialized places wherein you can conduct a college search. Let’s discuss a few of your options.
As you may have guessed, most ways to find colleges involve using the Internet. That should not come as a big surprise as every college has a website and you can apply to colleges using electronic forms. Why shouldn’t you be able to find a suitable university in the same manner?
One of the best ways to locate a college that suits you is to use a search engine that is specifically formulated to college searches. You can search by majors offered, activities, the cost, financial aid available, admission dates and deadlines. With all of these specifics, you should be able to narrow down your college search quite substantially. Examples of such search engines include www.collegeboard.com, www.collegeview.com and www.uscollegesearch.org.
One place you should make consistent use of during the college search process is your high school counselor’s office. He or she is there to help you achieve your dreams by providing you with the proper guidance. That’s why they are often called “guidance counselors,” after all. In your high school counselor’s office, you should be able to find out about colleges that may specialize in your preferred area of study or even those that are just close by in the area.
Counselors are familiar with colleges and have performed many searches for other students in the past. They should be able to help you find what you are looking for.
Matchmaking databases are very similar to college search engines. The best example I can think of is the matchmaking service offered by the College Board. Rather than searching; however, you are prompted to answer several questions about what you prefer in a college, your major of choice, whether you prefer a public or private campus, tuition needs, etc. After you complete this brief questionnaire, you will be provided with your closest college matches. This can help you save on time if you’re running behind in the process and it can help you find colleges that specialize or focus on your major of choice, which could be somewhat difficult using other methods.
I told you that you could use your standard search engine as well! Now, you can’t just go and search for “college” and expect to come up with anything substantial. But, you can search for something more specific and possibly find valuable information. If you want to go to school in California, try searching for “ California + college” and see what you come up with. Or, if you don’t have a preference as to where you go to school, try searching by the name of your major of choice, or by an extracurricular activity you would like to be a part of on campus.
There are many ways to search for and find the right college for you. However, you need to start this search early, like in your junior year of high school. Doing so will allow you plenty of time to prepare for the admission requirements and gather all of the appropriate materials to begin the application process. Happy searching!