The college search process can be long and tiring. You want to research and explore all of your options but with more than 2,000 colleges in the U.S. it can quickly become overwhelming. Even before you are halfway through the search, your interest might start to wane. Continuing with the search with this frame of mind is not the ideal. Instead of going down this road, it is far better to put a few strategies in place to keep yourself motivated and on track with your college search. These tips should help.
Start Your Search Early
Starting your college search early is the single best thing you can do to stay motivated. Having time on your side gives you a tremendous advantage. You have plenty of time to search, create a list, make notes, write to the college and get whatever clarifications you need and then go back and take another look at the school with a fresh perspective.
Most importantly, you won’t be under any pressure to look through 10 or 15 colleges a day. You can complete your search in between your high school assignments and other personal commitments without having to compromise.
Putting off your search till the last minute can leave your feeling serious frazzled as you try to cram it all into a shorter time frame. There’s not enough time to do detailed research and you have to make rushed decisions. The feeling of helplessness can put a dampener on your motivation levels.
Create a Schedule Complete with Breaks In Between
Searching for colleges every single day can be tedious. You are also more likely to get burned out.
Now that you have started your search early, it may be a good idea to create a schedule, keeping aside a few hours a week. You decide how many hours you want to keep aside and what kind of schedule works best for you—one hour twice or thrice a week or two hours once a week. Whatever you decide, write it down into your schedule and commit to it. Don’t leave so much wiggle room that you end up not keeping to it at all.
If you decide to spend two or three hours at a stretch searching for colleges, remember to take a break in between. Reading through pages and pages of information can leave you feeling glassy-eyed. Every hour or so, get off the computer, rest your eyes, attend to something non-computer, splash cold water over your face, and then get back to your search refreshed and re-energized.
Create a Spreadsheet
After looking through a few colleges, things will start to get confusing. The details will all start to feel like one big blur and you will find it difficult to remember each school’s eligibility criteria, cost of tuition, application deadline and other requirements. It’s a sure recipe for de-motivation.
Creating a spreadsheet will help you stay more organized and on track. It helps you see how much you have accomplished and how far you have reached with your college search, fueling your motivation to continue with your college search.
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