Finding the right university can be a challenge, but it’s also an exciting opportunity! Whether you’re an underclassmen thinking about college for the first time or a senior starting your applications, our admission staff have some helpful tips to ease your anxieties about the college search process.
Do your homework. Not all colleges are created the same. We all have varying missions, programs, and values, so it is important to learn as much as you can about your colleges of interest.
Start sooner than later. You are going to need a good portion of time to process information about colleges because, again, we are all different. Choosing a college or university is a critical decision that should not be rushed. Give yourself permission to make a well-informed decision.
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Be organized. Take note of differences in college applications because each college you apply to may have different requirements and deadlines. Keeping all your application materials organized and ready to submit will be very helpful. Save your passwords for the Common App, individual university application portals, FAFSA, and scholarship websites. Make sure your resume, final essay draft, and letters of reference are quickly accessible so they can be easily submitted. Finally, check and re-check deadlines; submitting early is always best.
More is best. The application process can be overwhelming—so many questions and forms to submit, but every detail is important. Our team reviews hundreds to thousands of applications in a matter of months. When your application is on our desk, we want to get to know YOU! Give us ALL the details about your community involvement, how much you love being in marching band or playing basketball—we want to know everything! Complete the forms that request your involvement, submit a resume or whatever you would like us to know about you. All of this helps in completing our holistic admission review process. No detail is too small!
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Make a list of your top priorities in a college. Does it have my academic program? Cool clubs? How’s the food? Your standards to find your perfect fit are important. Ask your college representative all of the questions you need answered before making a decision!
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Trust your gut. Finding the college that best suits you is no easy feat, but remember to trust your instincts. Every single campus that you visit (either in-person or virtually) will leave you with a very distinct feeling. Trust that feeling. Does that school feel like a place you could call home for the next several years? If not, move on! Be sure to visit your top schools a few times to ensure that you still get a positive feeling each time you are on campus.
Know your options. Students often begin looking at colleges with one major or career in mind. While this can be a good strategy, it’s also important to consider additional majors that a college offers. It’s a good idea to choose a school that not only has your first choice of major but also your second and third. When you begin taking new types of classes in college, you may discover new passions and strengths that you never knew you had. This discovery could encourage you to change your major, so finding a school with many interesting programs is crucial.
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There is no such thing as too many questions. Ask your admission counselor as many questions as you need. Searching for a college can be a lot to deal with, so having someone to walk you through the process and discuss topics you’re unsure about is reassuring and can help you make the right college choice.
Make a task list. Sometimes it’s hard to remember everything you need to do while searching for and applying to colleges, so make sure to write it down. Write it on your phone, computer, or paper—whatever is easiest for you. When you complete something, remember to cross it off.
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Consider a variety of colleges—even ones you aren’t initially interested in. I attended a college that I thought was way too close to home at first. It ended up being the perfect fit, and I never would have considered it if my mom and school counselor hadn’t encouraged me to visit anyway. Many students share similar stories with me about being so impressed by a campus tour or meaningful conversation with a professor that it changes their view on what they want in a college. Don’t be so quick to make a decision that you pass up opportunities to research or visit universities of all types, sizes, and locations. You may be surprised by what you find!
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Good luck with your new school year, and as always, please contact us and connect with us if you want to learn more about Capital University.