You’re getting ready to graduate high school and go off to college. That means you’ll be heading into a new and unfamiliar time in your life, full of uncertainty and upheaval. The best possible way to deal with the inevitable chaos of the college application process is to control what you can. As someone who is very organized, I can attest to arranging things on a college visit worksheet. It’s a good way to clear up your life.
Create Your College List
The first step for any student in your shoes is to decide what colleges you’re interested in. There are thousands of schools across the country. You have to whittle that massive selection of institutions of higher learning down to just a few. Some students have their dream school in mind right from the get-go. However, it’s vital to plan for more than one opportunity.
Personally, I certainly knew where I wanted to go, aiming to be a student at the State University of New York at Geneseo, my father’s alma mater. However, I knew that Geneseo was (at the time) the most selective SUNY school, and even though my grades were good, there was a chance I wouldn’t get in. Even though I eventually did go to Geneseo, my parents and guidance counselor advised me to make a list of other schools to visit and split them up in many different ways, a tactic that helped me greatly when I went off to college visits. I would advise every student out there who’s planning to visit many schools to do the same thing I did.
First, do your research. Meet with your guidance counselor often, read online rankings of schools, talk to your friends, and use College Raptor. Find out which schools fit your criteria, and split them into three categories: safety, match, and reach schools. Aim for a good amount of both safety and reach schools, and one or two reaches. If your whole list is reach schools, you’ll end up without a fallback plan if you somehow don’t get accepted to any.
Chart it Out
Once you have your list, break it down by what you prioritize. If you want to be close to (or far away from) home, add the distance each school is from where you live. If you want a big school, look up the student populations. Or, if you’re aiming to go to a school with Greek life, make sure you mark that down. The best way to organize all this is via a chart that you can save and pull up at any time.
Once your chart is complete, you’ll be able to reference it when planning your college visits. You can factor in which schools you want to visit first and make sure your visits are practically arranged, so you can check off multiple schools on one trip. While the specifics of your visit worksheet will differ depending on your priorities, it should be easy to use and you should be able to check off things as you go. Once you’re on a visit, you’ll be very happy that you planned so well in advance and organized yourself.