Starting Your College Search: A Beginners Guide

Juniors, believe it or not it’s time to start your college search if you haven’t already! While you won’t be completing your applications any time soon, you do need to start getting a move on the actual searching. Here are some steps to follow to get off on the right foot.


Talk to Your Parents and Guidance Counselor

A good starting point in your college search is to talk to the adults in your life. Your parents, especially if they went to college themselves, may have some excellent advice for your search. However, they may be a little too close to their Alma mater to always give the best direction for your goals. Make sure to search beyond their suggestions when it comes to college! And, it’s not too early to start making some college visits.

You should also be talking to your guidance counselor during this time. They’ve seen thousands of students go through exactly what you’re going to go through. They can help! Your counselor can give you a checklist of things you’ll need to complete over the next 12 months so you can complete your college search with a game plan. This means more than just choosing the correct schools, too. They will give you advice on SAT or ACT prep, scholarships, and more.

Think About What You Want in a School

When starting your college search, it’s a good time to start thinking about what you’d like in a school. Have you given thought to what careers would fit you? Majors? These are going to play big roles in the colleges or universities you end up applying to, so you’re going to want to give this careful thought. And don’t worry – your choices now aren’t written in stone.

Research careers you’re interested in. You may find that a job is actually vastly different than what you imagined. Once you’ve landed on a few that sound like they’d be a good fit, investigate the majors that will help you achieve those goals.

You should also be thinking about

  • Large vs small schools
  • Large vs small classes
  • City or rural
  • Extracurriculars
  • Location
  • Clubs

Use the Right Tools

If you want to make your college search a breeze and as stress free as possible, it’s absolutely essential that you use the right tools. Our College Match tool will help you input information about yourself, what you’re looking for in a school, and other valuable data. It will then return a number of schools that fit the criteria!

College Match from College Raptor saves you a lot of legwork. You don’t have to rely on just Google to find the schools that actually meet your needs and wants. You can also use College Raptor to compare schools, research careers, find scholarships, create a college savings plan, and more.

Getting started on your college search can feel like a daunting task, but the second half of your junior year is the perfect time to start seriously thinking about what you’d like in a school. Before you know it you’ll be sitting for the SAT or ACT and completing your college application essays!