When should high school students start looking at colleges?

  • profilePic
    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered a year ago

It’s never too early to start looking at what factors are important to you for your college years. Ask yourself carefully what is important to you: a certain program, geographical region, structured vs. open curriculum, school spirit, fraternity/sorority (Greek) system, and level of pressure. These are just a few aspects that will determine your best-fit college.

Although it is very common, we do not recommend looking at colleges solely on the basis of rankings. Rankings are very easily manipulated, and have resulted in real problems in admission, as colleges try to make themselves look as selective as possibly, which gives them a higher rating. A high rating does not mean that a particular college is the best for you. Look deeper at how good of an educational fit in will be. Are the classes large or small? Is there good teacher/student interaction? Is the undergraduate experience compromised for the graduate experience, resulting in most of your teachers being TA’s? Is it so difficult to get good grades because you squeaked into the most difficult college, so that you will never make it into a good graduate school? These are just some of the factors to consider.

A good rule of thumb is to begin in your sophomore year, once you have some idea of how your GPA is shaping up, and how you will do on your test scores, to make a list of the factors important to you. Then you can start making a large list of which schools you are interested in. There are many good secondary websites that will allow you to take virtual tours of the schools and to read impartial narratives. One of our favorite secondary book sources is The Fiske Guide. Also, look at the college’s own website, and drill down on the departments you are interested in.

As you build your list, make sure that you have Reaches, Targets and Safeties. Especially with the most selective schools, you cannot determine by scores and grades alone who will get in and who will not. Build a varied list.

By the end of your junior year, you should have a good, varied list of schools. That way, you can begin your applications during the summer, and be done early in your senior year. There is much advantage to apply early, either Early Decision or Early Action.

Please view the expert's profile and feel free to directly message or email for paid guidance. ChanceMe.in will not get involved or require a cut for paid engagements between experts and students.

Related Questions

  • What is the difference between Early Action and Early Decision?
    a year ago   • 3 Upvotes
  • Do we need to send the projected scores of 12th Finals along with 12th Half Yearlies? Or will 12th Half Yearlies suffice? I am applying early. Thanks in advance.
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes
  • I am in short, a clueless ninth grader, with a substantial dream. I really want to study medicine in the US, hopefully in Ivy League schools like Harvard and Johns Hopkins. I am a U.S. citizen currently living in India. I am a student in the CBSE board of education.
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes
  • I'm currently studying in class 11 and I'm a bit confused about when I should be applying to the US colleges like MIT, Harvard and Stanford. I know that their application deadlines are generally during end of year. Should I be applying during my class 12 or after completing class 12?
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes
  • What are some common college application mistakes?
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes
  • What is the recommended format an applicant should use for a college application essay?
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes
  • When should high school students start looking at colleges?
    a year ago   • 1 Upvotes
  • Do American Universities visit India to talk about their admissions process? Where can I get more information on the schedule and how important is it for me to attend these?
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes
  • What advice would you give to someone in high school who was thinking of applying to US colleges?
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes
  • How important are the school rankings? In India, there are certain US schools that are perceived better than others.
    a year ago   • 0 Upvotes