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Four Less Obvious College Search Tips

Posted by Angie DiSalvo, revised by Sara Giboney Friday, May. 19, 2023

Four Less Obvious College Search Tips

Have you been wondering how to choose a college? The college search process can be overwhelming. From campus visits to the first day of classes, there are a lot of steps to complete. It can be easy to overlook tasks that are an important part of the process.

As you navigate the process, getting college admissions advice from experts will help make your search easier. 

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the admissions office of the colleges you’re interested in.

“Admissions is here to guide students to the program that best suits their needs and through the application process,” said Cathy Filipowicz, recruitment and admissions coordinator at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC). “We guide students through the process until the day they start classes.”

Here are four less obvious tips for starting your college search. You can complete these tasks before your college campus visits:

1. Embrace Snail Mail: A Unique College Search Tip

While we rely on the internet for most of our research, you might miss out on important information if you do your entire college search online. 

If you want information about a college, request a packet. Most college websites even have a link to this option on their homepage. 

The information packet you receive from a college will include information about the campus, programs, deadlines, application and admission requirements, tuition and scholarships.

While you can find that information on a college’s website, brochures will make comparing different colleges easier.

Once you request the brochure, some colleges will send you invitations to exclusive events for students like you or reminders for application deadlines. Life gets busy, and colleges know you may need a little heads up. Be sure to check your mailbox each day.

Read more: How to Work With Your College Admissions Team

2. Requesting Letters of Recommendation: Essential College Application Tips

From your admission applications to scholarship forms, letters of recommendation could give you a leg up, even if they aren’t required. 

The people who can write letters of recommendation for you – especially your busy teachers – will appreciate getting an early request from you to write one instead of a frenzied call the night before a deadline. Don’t be shy about giving them a deadline either, as long as it is realistic.

Be intentional about who you ask. Think about people in your life who have positively impacted you or have seen you succeed in the school environment. Maybe that’s your volleyball coach, your chemistry teacher or principal. But don’t forget about some less obvious people. If you want to be a nurse and have a close family friend who has been a nurse throughout their career, ask them to write one.

Read more: What High School Juniors Can Do To Prepare for College

3. Scouting for Scholarships: A Crucial Step in the College Search Process

It’s never too early to start figuring out how to pay for college. Ask your parents and extended family to look into scholarship opportunities through their workplaces, organizations they are involved in (i.e., Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, etc.), churches and other groups.

Finally, ask that they either begin or continue to keep organized records of their taxes. You will need their tax information to fill out the FAFSA, which is required to be eligible for any federal student aid. Most colleges also require the FAFSA to consider you for their grants and scholarships as well.

Read more: Four Ways to Get All the College Scholarships You Can

4. Get Organized: College Planning Resources to Keep You on Track

Make yourself a checklist or timeline with all of the steps you need to complete. From registering for the ACT, scheduling campus visits, submitting applications and sending in a deposit, the college search process can be dizzying. You don’t want to miss out on a $5,000 scholarship just because you got the deadline wrong.

Read more: 12 Ways to Sail Through the College Application Process

Your Ultimate College Search Checklist: Don’t Miss a Thing

Ready to jumpstart your college search journey? Download our comprehensive College Planning Guide today! This essential resource is packed with expert advice, useful checklists and valuable insights to help you navigate the college search process with confidence.

Topics: preparing for college, admissions