college search

Useful Tools When Searching for the Perfect College

March 20, 2015 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Colleges

college-searchI remember when I was a junior in high school and I had to start considering where I wanted to go to college. It was very nerve racking and I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to study. When I was a freshman I thought I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, but apparently that had completely changed.

Luckily, my high school was very helpful when it came to searching and picking that perfect college. The guidance counselor’s office made sure that there were information sessions when colleges came to visit. Additionally, there would be college fairs. This is where I found a majority of the colleges I was interested in and ended up visiting. I found the college fair to be extremely helpful because they had colleges from all over the U.S. at the fair and representatives from the colleges as well in order to ask questions and get information about the college. I would definitely recommend going to a college fair in high school if there is one available to you, especially if you do not have an idea of where you would like to go.

In addition, asking your teachers is another good resource. The college I ended up going to was recommended by my high school band director. He knew I was applying to the military academies and wanted a military college experience so he told me about VMI, which I had never heard of, and ironically now attend. Also, after you ask your teachers you can then research the schools online and get an information packet sent to you. That’s exactly what I did and I found it very helpful. I found all of these resources very helpful.

Additionally, when searching for the perfect college that fits you, you have to make sure you go and visit the college. This is one of the most important pieces of advice I received when looking for the college I wanted to go to. You have to actually place yourself there and imagine yourself a student there. If you can’t see yourself attending that college or don’t feel like it fits you, then you won’t be happy going there.

Overall, finding the right college can be tough. However, once you know where you want to go it gives you the motivation to do well and finish out your senior year of high school. For me, that is exactly what it did. And even though I might not have gotten the chance to go to the college of my dreams that I worked extremely hard to get into, I know that it made me a better person and that I could not see myself anywhere else than the college I now attend. Everything seemed to work out in the end, but you definitely have to do a lot of research and make sure you have back- ups. There are plenty of resources and people that want to help you find the college that is the right fit for you you just have to be willing and ready.

Resources for Your College Search

August 8, 2014 in Colleges

A thorough college search led me to TCNJ.

A thorough college search led me to TCNJ.

I think what students are told most often when they make the decision to continue their education is to meet with a counselor at their high school so that they can discuss various options with the very person whose job it is to give guidance. Unfortunately, in my case, I feel like my counselor is the one resource who gave me the least amount of information. Perhaps this is because I had five different counselors in four years (the guidance department at my school was a mess; honestly, I don’t believe it has improved at all) so my counselor didn’t know me. She’d been given so many extra students to take care of that she didn’t have time for all of the seniors who were desperately scrambling to figure out their futures. The advice she deigned to give me in our single meeting was the exact opposite of what I needed. So where else could I turn?

The first resource I simply used was a Google search to find out which colleges were within a two hour radius of me. This was simple for me because I’d decided I didn’t want to live far from home and two hours was my limit. If your boundaries simply don’t exist, you should skip this step. But if you’re certain you want or need to be close to home or you have a certain area in mind for school, Google certainly can’t hurt.

Then I was on the hunt for more information. College websites can be good resources for the barest of facts but sometimes it can be hard to find out information that might factor into your decision, like what the freshman dorms look like, if the food is inedible, or how large class sizes are. I found forums where students connected about a certain college or simply spoke about their own experience to contribute to a larger discussion. That’s the best advice I can give you during your college search: Go straight to the source. Find students who have lived through that school. And whatever you do, make sure that you’re not only speaking with the school ambassadors. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great people; I have several friends who are ambassadors for TCNJ. But it’s part of their job to attract you to their school. Does this mean they may not be completely honest about what makes them unhappy? Maybe. But you’re probably only meeting the happiest, bubbliest people on campus, who don’t make up the whole.

Speaking to or emailing professors, heads of departments, or other people who can offer you more information about your major is definitely important. This is how you can find out about unique classes ahead of time. It’s especially important to get connected if you’re undecided. You have a lot of time in which to declare your major but it never hurts to spread your wings early on and see what might interest you!

Overall, don’t panic. College applications are stressful and waiting for answers from top schools can be nerve-wracking. If you’re well-informed about a school you’re already one step ahead of the rest!

Choosing the right school for you: beyond the book

March 22, 2013 in Academics, Admissions, Campus Life, Colleges

Before I begin, it must be known that I was not your typical college-searcher. I knew from the ripe age of seven that I wanted to be a journalist. I loved everything about it; interviewing, writing, reporting, all of it. When I entered high school I began reporting for the TV station in my town. The Executive Producer of the station told me about Emerson College, which he regarded as the “best school for journalism in the country.” Ever since then, I knew I had to go.

Students exploring the Boston Gardens

Students exploring the Boston Gardens

I have a sister a year older than me, so she began to look at colleges when I was a sophomore in high school. I went along with her to every school she visited, soaking in the collegiate vibe of each campus. Although my sister’s major is the polar opposite of journalism, it was still beneficial to observe college life. She checked out many different schools, ranging from Brown to UMass Amherst. Learning about each school made me realize how many different aspects there are in colleges. Seeing all the variations in the schools pushed me to broaden my own search beyond just Emerson. I pored over websites and college books, creating spreadsheets and contacting current students with questions. What really mattered to me was the academic program and the location. I knew I needed a good broadcast journalism program and to be in a city, preferably within driving distance of my home in southern New Hampshire.

After compiling a list of my top six schools I signed up for tours and information sessions at each of them. This is what was the key factor in my decision. You learn so much about a school by going to it and looking around. In addition to the info sessions and tour guides, I walked around by myself to get a feel for the campus life. I pretended like I was a current student, eavesdropping on conversations and all. I strongly believe that you have to fall in love with the vibe of the campus. There is so much more to a school then what you will learn from an hour information session. In order to really know which school is for you, you have to get past the scripted fluff and experience the life of a student there. At the end of the day, that is what solidified my decision to attend Emerson College. I liked other school too, but this is where I felt the most comfortable.

And I have never once regretted my decision. Emerson is amazing. It’s right in the center of everything in Boston, which is both fun and extremely convenient. Boston is a great college town and you’re able to meet so many other students from different schools. Of course, Emerson isn’t without it’s faults, but if you’re looking for any sort of career in communication or the arts, there is absolutely no other college that compares. The programs here are amazing and especially all the organizations on campus allow you to get experience in anything you could imagine, even if it’s outside your major. The student body is incredibly supportive and the “Emerson Mafia” makes networking easy and beneficial. The classes are always relatively small, I have never had a class with more than 25 people. Participation is usually high because the students here really like to get involved in what they’re learning. The things you learn in your classes are very essential to the skills you need in your specific field and while you get experience from this, it’s also very important to supplement with outside work in organizations. I am in six different organizations on campus, and there are so many more I wish I had the time to join!

In short, do your research, visit the schools, and really try to get a feel for the campus. Good luck and have fun!

College Search Trends

December 7, 2012 in Campus Life, Health, Infographics, Tech

Do you know what college students search for on Google? Search trends on Google reveal enlightening information about what students seek in their college experience. Partying is clearly a priority. Students care less about getting into college and mor about being able to party once they’re in. “Beer pong” is searched nearly 14 times more than “college admissions.” In fact, beer pong gets over 60,000 monthly searches while flip cup gets 5,400, keg stand also get 5,400 monthly searches and the phrase “we’re going streaking through the quad” even gets 140 monthly searches. The term “top party schools” receives 8,100 searches per month with Penn State, ASU and UCSB appearing as the top ranked party schools. The freshman fifteen is also a popular search term as students love to eat. “Campus food” gets 27,100 searches per month. “Dining hall” gets 1,900 monthly Google searches. “Campus delivery” gets only 480 and “chinese food college station” gets 210. The most googled college dining halls include, University of Michigan, University of Connecticut, University of California Los Angeles and Rutgers University. Search trends also reveal that students care less about how much college costs, but more about how they will be able to pay for it. “Student loans” has 246,000 monthly searches while “financial aid” has only 135,000 unique searches. “College scholarships” does particularly poorly with only 27,100 per month – about 1/10 of the traffic for student loans. “Academic probation” is also a term that is twice as likely to be searched for than “dean’s list.” Check out more about college search traffic in the infographic below:

College Search Trends

College Search Trends