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Choosing the Right College – In 5 Simple Steps

November 04, 2021
An illustration shows a person holding a large pencil as they check items off an oversized paper checklist

Whether you’re a high school senior counting down the days to graduation or a sophomore just beginning to explore your options, it’s never too late or early to begin planning for the future. This is the time to really start digging deeper into what makes a college the perfect fit for you. We know choosing a college can be one of the toughest decisions you’ll ever have to make. It can be scary to think about jumping into that next stage of life, but there are tons of resources out there to help make the college planning process so much easier! Not sure where to even begin? Don’t panic. Here are some simple steps that are sure to help you find the school that will give you everything you’re looking for.

Step 1: Know What You Want

What does your ideal college need to have to make it the perfect fit? Are you looking for a school with tons of student involvement opportunities? Are you an athlete looking to continue your career? Or maybe a school with the academic program you’re looking to major in is at the top or your list. Creating a detailed list of everything you want to get out of your future college is key. This is where your college search can truly begin. When you know exactly what you want, narrowing down possible school choices becomes so much easier. Below is a sample checklist to help get you started!

A checklist is titled College Checklist, with a list of

Step 2: Start Your Research

Now that you know what you’re looking for in a potential college, you can begin researching which colleges check the boxes on your list. The internet will be your best friend when it comes to getting a search started. CollegeBoard and Niche are some great resources for online searching. These sites give you the opportunity to narrow your search based on major, location, school size, and campus life. Your high school counselor is also a great resource! Schedule an appointment, take your list with you, and have a conversation about some possible school options that might be a good fit. Take the opportunity to ask about any upcoming local college fairs. These events are like one-stop-shops for college searching, where you can talk with representatives from a number of different schools all in one place.

Step 3: Plan Your Campus Visits

This is the time to begin really narrowing down your options. Visiting campus is an extremely important part of the search process! Trust us, you want to be able to actually SEE yourself on a campus. If you can’t picture yourself walking around campus as a student, is that a school you really want to attend? Consider participating in a weekday campus tour or attend a larger visit event like an open house. Both options get you onto the college’s campus and give you the opportunity to see everything for yourself.

Step 4: Start Submitting Applications 

This is where it gets serious. You’ve made your list, done your research, and visited campus. Congratulations, you’re ready to start applying to the schools that have made the cut! Take this time to consider whether it would be more helpful to complete individual applications with each school or complete the Common App. The Common App is a great resource for students who plan to apply to multiple schools. While the application can be tedious, this resource allows you to complete a single application and send it to all your schools of interest! For students who may only be applying to one or two schools, completing each school’s personal application may be the shorter route. Of course, this is totally up to you!

Now that all the hard work is done, you can sit back and wait for those acceptance letters to start rolling in! Perhaps during your preliminary searches you’ve begun to think that York College of Pennsylvania might be a good fit. We’d encourage you to connect with us so we can show you why York College has been a great fit for thousands of our students since day one. Our Admissions Team would love to chat and show you around campus.