Do your research
“Research your colleges carefully. Look into the programs that are offered, the size of the campus, and anything else that might interest you,” said Jeff Stahlman, president of the Ohio Association for Admissions Counseling. Determine whether there is a fit with the colleges you research by asking yourself some questions.
Do they have your intended field of study? Is there enough personal attention for you? Is it close enough or not far away enough from home? Would you be happy and successful here?
Take advantage of area college fairs, and meet with the college representatives when they visit your school, said Jill Byers, admissions counselor at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute.
You don’t have to know everything about the college when you meet with the representative, but it’s a great opportunity to ask questions about what college programs are offered, she explained.
Most high schools have colleges that visit high schools in the fall to meet students and provide college information, said Stahlman. Take advantage of those opportunities to ask questions.
“The best way to see if you like a campus is to schedule a visit and to see it for yourself,” said Stahlman.
Open houses are good opportunities to be a “fly on the wall” and see how the college thing works, where personal conferences are better for specific questions about personal circumstances or a program of study, explained Byers.
Visit more than one college to get an idea of what each one has to offer. “It’s OK to visit a school and decide you don’t want to go there. That’s part of the decision-making process,” said Byers.
Do more than just take the campus tour. Spend some time before or after getting your own feel for the place. “Eat a meal there, visit the bookstore, pick up the campus newspaper, and check out the student center,” she said. Look around the community as well.
Meet college deadlines
Meet your admission representative to ask questions about campus life and what you need to know about applying. Submit your college applications on time and thoroughly complete them. Double-check your applications for errors before submitting, said Stahlman.
“If you need to write an essay, please do so thoughtfully. Use the writing process — write, review, and rewrite. Have a trusted adult look it over,” he said.
Build a list of colleges that include schools you’d be happy attending and at least a couple that you will definitely be admitted to, said Stahlman. “Stay organized and apply in a timely manner. Earlier is usually better,” he said.
More college tips and advice here.