How To Conduct A College Search

Choosing the right college to attend is one of the most important decisions of a young persons’ life. That’s why it’s important to weigh all of the different college options appropriately; college searches are the perfect tool to do just that. College searches allow potential students to make comparisons of their top higher learning choices.

A lot of advances have been made in the past few years in terms of choosing a prospective college or university to attend. It’s no longer a decision that is based solely on reviewing thick college catalogs or even having to visit a campus to get a feel for it. In fact, most college searches these days rely heavily on the Internet.

When a prospective student or guidance counselor begins the process of searching for a college online, they will find many college search options to choose from. Most of the sites available to people are set up as databases. They house all types of information that can be useful in narrowing down the search between schools.

There are different types of college searches online that give varying degrees of results. It’s important to choose a site whose main focus or only goal is comparing colleges. Some websites are linked through other college-related websites, and only allow very basic information to be input, which means the user is left sifting through mounds of school results and really having gotten no help or advice on narrowing the options. Another thing to avoid is an ‘advertisements first’ site. College searches shouldn’t be mere backdrops for advertisements of products and services, their should be substance to the site that is chosen.

As mentioned before, the search options available in college searches or on a site are very important. Some examples of the most common search topics are: major, city or state (location), size of student body, and cost of admission. Usually, a good college search site will allow all of these search options and many more. Some allow searches as detailed as ‘freshman dorms wired for Internet’.

It’s important before using an online search tool, however, be they paid or free sites, that the user knows what interests they have in mind. Choosing a college is an individual decision and it shouldn’t be influenced by anything but the prospective students want and need in a school.

Some other hallmarks of a truly useful college search site are features like personal profiles, access to newsletters and account updates via email and being able to save search results for future reference. The more personalization a college search site allows, the easier it will be to find the college that is the right fit. Some sites even act as intermediaries between the student, or guidance counselor, and the college by sending information from a college that matches your search criteria directly to an inbox.

With some 4,000 different colleges to choose from, there can be thousands, if not, millions of different search variations to input. So many options can be confusing and that could hamper the decision making process. It’s important, therefore, to know which factors are most important, personally, before using college searches online.

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