Finding the Right College for You
Once you've determined what area of study is right for you (you've gone through the steps in Finding a Career) and you know where you stand (ACT test scores and GPA), the next step is choosing a college. Follow the steps listed to narrow down the field of colleges and universities available to you.
Step 1 What Colleges are looking for
Watch the view to get a overview of what is involved in the college application process.
Step 2 Start a College Search
Using the various college search sites, look for colleges that would be a good fit. The sites let you narrow down your choices based on major, size, location, cost, selectivity (how hard it is to get in), cost, and many of other factors. There are several search sites listed, use any or all of them.
To organize all this information, download the College Comparison sheet. It will help you compare and contrast your choices.
Helps you compare and contrast colleges based on over 20 search criteria. Also has helpful articles about college, scholarships, financial aid.
UW College Search...
Want to stay in Wisconsin? Go to MajorMania on this site to find campuses with majors that interest you.
Majormania- for a major search
Wisconsin Technical Colleges
Search career programs offered at Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
Search 3,899 colleges in their data base. The people behind SAT, AP, and PSAT, the College Board also provides info on how to get into college.
Peterson's has been in the college information business longer than anyone. Their simple 3 step search can provide major information. Also info on how to pay, choose, and get in.
To help in making your decision, visit each of the campus' website. Along with general campus information, you can usually get specific information about your major, including courses you will need to take for that program. Read through the list of courses; if most of them sound ugly, this might not be the major for you.
Step 3 Make a Campus Visit
Now that you've narrowed down your choices, it's time to see which school is really the right fit for you. Nothing helps you make the decision easier than physically being on campus. Unable to make the trip? Your second best option is a virtual tour. Check out these sites to see if a tour is available. Tours might also be available from the college's website.
Step 4 Apply
Once you've found the right college, the next step is to apply. College application dates are listed on the campus website. Most campuses start accepting applications the beginning of your Senior year, and stop accepting at their due date or when they are full. Again, check specific application information for your college listed on their website.
What should be in the application essay? Take these tips from UW Eau Claire admissions:
At UW-Eau Claire, we want students to use the essay to help add clarification or detail to anything that hasn’t been explained. The main statement of “explain a success or challenge that you’ve had” is a great place to talk about lower grades during a semester, an ACT score that is low but GPA is good, or any other academic factor. Students can talk about illness, family problems, mental health concerns, or anything else that adds more detail to the “numbers” (ACT, GPA, HS class rank, grades, etc.) that we see.
The essays are also a great place to talk about a specific example of an activity or leadership role. Students can list their activities, work experiences, and other extra-curriculars in the app, however, if there is one that they really love or want to talk more about, the essay is great for that.
Overall, the main idea is to answer the questions and provide any additional information the students wants us to know. We typically suggest 300-600 words – about 3 paragraphs. Enough to explain and give detail, but not so much that it takes 30 minutes to read through.
As always, specific questions are best answered by the specific schools’ admission counselor.