August is the perfect time for Rising Juniors and Rising Seniors to research colleges! Whether you have to make a decision sooner or later, spending some time this month thinking about what you want in a college and researching them online is time well-spent!
What are you looking for?
Think about what YOU need in a college or university. This is where you will live for the next four or more years. In many ways, the college and college town become your home. Are you looking for an academic and social balance? Do you need a school where you can compete in D1 athletics? Is a small campus with an intimate setting important? Or is it essential that you have a very specific academic living arrangement. As you look at college websites and brochures, and visit universities, keep a list of what you like and don't like about each. This becomes your own ranking list. Eventually, your specific needs will emerge and you can use this to narrow down your college list.
Find some great resources.
Every college has a website with facts and information. Definitely use this information in your research, but remember that this is marketing information. Each college puts out this information with the intent that you will will persuaded to select IT as the "college of choice." If you want objective, unbiased information, pick up a college guide book like Fiske Guide to Colleges. You can also find great information online using objective college guide websites. There are many out there. Here are three great ones to get you started.
DIY College Rankings