The College Search: Advice from a Senior


With the year almost over, all of the current seniors have decided on their plans for next year but the college search is just beginning for many people and it can be uncharted territory for some. I have learned a lot from my parents, who have gone through this four times, and from my own personal experiences. So, I will be given the best advice I can think of for future seniors on the challenges that come with choosing the next step in life.

I think one of the biggest tips of advice is to start early and find the type of school you want. Start by touring schools that are close to home, such as the University of Minnesota, Saint Thomas, or St. Bens. This will help you decide if you want a big or small school, one that is in the city or not, etc. It will really help narrow down the search of school’s that you will ultimately apply to. Another way to narrow down schools is through your major. If you know the type of school that you want, you can start finding similar school’s that have really good programs in your desired major.

Something that I really enjoyed was visiting colleges on the future student days. It is called something different at every school but these are the days that they have a full day planned for future students, which normally include a tour, activity fair, lunch, and sometimes being able to sit in on a class. Colleges have normal tours every day, but I think that these days really helped me learn more about the school and get a better feel for if it was somewhere I wanted to go. The best way to find these days is to go to the visit tab on a school’s website and they will normally have a list of the dates and you’d be able to register.

I know it is scary to think about leaving your family and your friends, but you have to find the school that fits you the best. This means not applying to schools simply because your best friend is going there. If you and a friend end up going to the same school, that is great and perfectly fine but don’t make a plan to go to college together. College is a time to meet a ton of new people and have new experiences, so don’t follow someone to college because it could hold you back from truly experiencing college.

A tip that I have that doesn’t actually relate to finding a college but is something I strongly recommend is to create a separate email for colleges only. This makes it so much easier to keep everything in one place and not lose emails. You’ll be getting emails from colleges every day so having a second email designated solely to colleges will help keep your normal email junk free but it’ll also be easier to find emails in the future when you need them.

My last bit of advice is to apply early and try to be done with all your applications by the earl action deadline. This deadline is normally Nov. 1 and then regular decision is in January. If you are able to complete all of your applications by November 1st and it is early action, you will hear back from all of your school’s by the end of December. It is really nice to hear back in December so that in the spring month you can revisit your top schools. Applying early also gives you more time in December to apply for any additional scholarships or programs at your colleges.

I hope some of these tips will help future seniors as they embark on the next step in life. It is a scary and stressful time but it always works out and you’ll find a school that you love.