six tips organized college search

6 Tips for an Organized College Search

If you have kids in high school, you are likely somewhere in the college search process. Like many parents, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information, tasks, and unexpected emotions involved in finding the perfect school. The good news is that an organized college search isn’t that hard to manage – all it takes is a little project management and record keeping to set you on your organized way:

  • Know your budget limitations

    Before you do anything, take time to understand what you can really afford when it comes to your child’s college education. This one step will ensure that you don’t waste time with schools that exceed your resources.

  • Engage your child

    College searching is a great time to partner with your child. This is a big decision with long-lasting impact, and it doesn’t help anyone if your child isn’t engaged and leading the process (with your help from the sidelines).

  • Use free online tools to help

    Student-focused tools like Kaplan’s AI College Admissions Advisor are useful to navigate the admissions process, from entrance exams to applications. Along with providing personalized guidance on the most important aspects of college admissions, tools like KapAdvisor can help student maintain a balanced list of safety, target, and reach colleges to maximize their chances of acceptance.

  • Define your priorities

    The average student applies to at least five colleges. What are their most important factors in choosing a college? Consider factors such as location, student population, academic programs offered, extracurricular activities, tuition and other costs, and campus culture.

  • Use a dated checklist

    When it comes to an organized college search, there are some key dates that can’t be missed, including: SAT/ACT tests, college tour dates, scholarship deadlines, FAFSA application deadlines and college application deadlines. Use a spreadsheet, notebook, or online planner to keep everything organized. Don’t wait until the last minute to start working on applications. Set deadlines for each step of the process, and make sure to stick to them.

  • Make Time for College Tours

    College tours have a huge impact on your child’s decision-making process. While it can be a challenge to fit them into an already-busy schedule, tours are often the only way to find the campus that truly feels like home. Experiencing the learning environment, meeting the students and faculty, and getting a feel for the campus culture can help a student decide whether a school is truly the right fit for them. 

[ RELATED: FAFSA and Financial Aid Ultimate Guide ]