A couple weeks ago, I started my junior year of high school. Exciting, right? Well, junior year means seeing my friends every day again, but it also means harder classes, more homework, practicing for and taking the SAT. All of this is getting me prepared for one thing: the college application process. Although I’m not applying for colleges until next summer, I’ve been actively searching for colleges to apply to for the past few YEARS.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I spent my spring break touring various colleges and I’m planning to visit a few more in the near future. I got more than a few DMs asking for me to share my college search process, so I’m here today to do just that! I want to make the search process easier than it was for me so in today’s post I’m going to share my personal experiences, tips, and an exciting e-course that’s useful for those of you in the college process!
My college search has been going on since middle school, but I’ve only gotten serious about it within the past year or so. At first, I was all over the place, jumping from school to school of interest and not taking into account factors that matter like finances, admissions, and location. It took outside help to finally figure out the most useful way to search for colleges. Here are four tips that I learned:
HOW TO SEARCH
My college process started out as simple as searching keywords in Google. If you’re looking to go in-state search for universities within your state and vice versa. For a broader search, look up colleges that hold your interested majors or ones based in the environment you want. Brainstorm what you’re looking for in a college and then use that to shape your keywords for the beginning of your college search.
LOOK THROUGH YOUR INTERESTED MAJOR
One thing I have found most crucial in my narrowing down my college search is to go through the courses offered in my interested majors. No college is the same, so the courses offered will vary from school-to-school. Do you see yourself enjoying these courses? How do they compare to another college’s?
The most important necessity for me when it comes to a college is the off-campus opportunity. Studying abroad, internships, and extracurriculars are vital in building up your post-college resumé. They also develop you as a person and can shape your idea of what you would like your future to be. Most of the time, opportunities like this can be found somewhere on the university’s webpage, but following the college’s social media can help create this understanding as well.
VISIT THE COLLEGE
My final tip is to visit the college! In the past, I have thought that a certain college was a good fit for me, then I went to visit and realized I didn’t vibe with it as much as I thought. Also, I’ve visited colleges I thought I wouldn’t like, and ended up loving! When visiting colleges, take a tour and try to go during the school year so you can get a good idea of what the bustle of campus will be like if you decide to go there.
As I mentioned earlier, getting help in the college process is very beneficial, which is why this post is sponsored by the Nectar Hub, a phenomenal resource for anyone prepping for college. I have already learned so many application tips from their blog and have even bookmarked the College Essay Cliches to Avoid blog post to reference later on. Brooklyn Dippo, an education lobbyist turned passionate college coach, founded Nectar in 2018. Brooklyn coaches girls from around the country who are looking to kill their college apps and SAT/ACT!
Brooklyn was kind enough to share a couple of her own college process tips with me to share with you:
AVOID COLLEGE RANKING LISTS
U.S. News is the big college ranking machine, but there are others out there too, and their data is meaningless for prospective students. It’s fake prestige, often awarded to schools who submit fake data (a few colleges get busted for it every year), and the data they do use is irrelevant to student life. The reality is, if you’re looking at college ranking lists to choose a school by a number, you’re choosing a college for the opinions of others and not for you.
I was guilty of this as a high school myself student because I just didn’t know where else to look. To help students find colleges that fit their personality or their ambitions, we’ve started a section on our blog with Hive Five lists — which list five diverse schools (geographically, in size, and public/private colleges) that relate to a particular personality type, like outdoor enthusiasts or bookworms. We’ll be adding new Hive Five lists to our blog every other week, so follow along to find colleges to add to your list!
DON’T BE DETERRED BY THE PRICE TAG
Particularly at private, liberal arts colleges. A lot of students skip over these schools because of the price tag, and understandably so. If every student actually had to pay that much to attend, then those schools would be far out of reach for most families. The reason that private colleges have higher tuition is that they don’t receive state government funding like public institutions. So they’re dependent on tuition and donations to keep things running.
But the reality is, these private colleges know that most students can’t afford their tuition so they are extremely generous in their merit scholarship awards. For students with good grades and test scores, these colleges will often award scholarships that cover more than half the cost of tuition, bringing the price down dramatically. You can also get need-based financial aid to attend any college by filling out and submitting FAFSA which I recommend for all students, even those who aren’t sure if they would qualify.
Today, Brooklyn launched the Bee Accepted e-course which contains a year’s worth of Brooklyn’s knowledge on the college process in a series of 5-minute videos. The videos cover the basics of applications, writing your essay, college financial planning, showing demonstrated interest, and more! With the purchase of the course comes a free templates (for resumes, letter of recommendation requests, and emails to admissions counselors), essay workshops, and weekly office hours for Q&A sessions with Brooklyn.
I’m most excited about building connections to the community of girls who are also taking this course! When chatting with Brooklyn, she mentioned that her #1 goal for Bee Accepted is to connect her students and create an empowering community for all. Connecting with girls from across the country while expertly completing college applications quickly is exactly my type of course. That’s why I’ve worked together with Brooklyn to create a discount code for YOU.
The course is priced at $347, but with the discount code OLIVIA50 you can get $50 off your purchase. Bee Accepted is an open course with no close date for Fall 2019, so enroll now!
Keep scrolling to the bottom of this post for a free infographic with a few of the tips from this post on it!
I hope you all enjoyed this post and learned a bit more about starting your college process! College is a super important part of my future plans, and I’m sure for many of you it is too. My DMs/email as well as Brooklyn’s (@thenectarhub) are always open for any questions you may have about the college process and the Bee Accepted course. Excited to see where the future takes all of you!
*As always, all opinions presented in this post are completely my own unless otherwise noted*