Now that you can rank up to 12 schools for the National College Match, it’s more important than ever to spend time researching which colleges are a good fit for you. Tori Guen, Assistant Director of Admissions at Colby College, shares her insight about the importance of research and tips to compare schools.
Researching colleges contributes to four important parts of the college admissions process. Research helps you broaden your search, narrow your selection, make you a more competitive applicant, and find the best-fit college for you.
First, research can lead to diversifying the types of schools you are applying for, since discovering aspects of schools that excite you can lead to considering other options. Perhaps you’ve never realized how cool it could be to go to a college near the ocean, and now you start looking at schools that are all on the coast. Once you have your list, researching schools can help you narrow your selection — you might fall in love with a school’s unique curriculum, the vibe from the Instagram, or closely identify with a student story. Making personal connections to an institution can help you understand the school from an uncommon perspective, which can ultimately help you stand out in an interview or strengthen a supplemental essay.
All of these factors come together to help you find colleges that you are excited about, and can help you figure out where you fit best. The best part about researching schools is that it is fun! Personally, I recall spending an excessive amount of time daydreaming about studying on different quads, eating unlimited amounts of ice cream in a dining hall, and joining a club to learn how to play the ukulele… and then I would have to remind myself to get back to work! Researching colleges helped me enjoy the process, since it was a reminder that all my hard work would eventually bring me somewhere even greater than my daydreams.
Research tips to keep in mind when comparing schools:
Do dynamic research! Don’t limit yourself to just books or the Internet. Inquire on websites to get publications mailed to you, set up an interview with alumni, email your regional representative, chat with current students, and check out social media pages! There are so many ways to get a multi-faceted look at a school.
When doing your research, keep an open mind. What ultimately will matter to you after four years won’t be the weather, location, size of your dorm, or the food. What you will leave college with is incredible connections with faculty, staff, and students. Look for places that will encourage you to make meaningful relationships, challenge you to grow personally, and support you along the way.
– by Tori Guen, Assistant Director of Admissions, Colby College