Abel Alfonso

Finding and Picking the Right College for You

Hello, everyone!   Last week we discussed taking SATs and ACTs and determining which standardized test was the best one for you. Now, it’s time to take the next step.  Let’s see where you want to go to college in the near future.

 This process can take quite some time. You may find some colleges in which you are initially interested, but you may change your mind later. There may even be some colleges to which you thought you would never apply, but you may take the challenge and apply.

 The Basics: What Interests You

 During high school you will take all kinds of courses in various subjects. You may love some and you may hate some. Among college choices you will have tons of majors and minors from which to choose, and you can pick whatever interests you <go to http://www.mymajors.com/list-of-college-majors/ or http://www.princetonreview.com/majors.aspx>. If you absolutely love science and want to try to get into the medical field, then you should look into colleges that offer great science programs and research opportunities.

 Regardless of what area in which you are strongly interested, you should look into colleges that actually offer majors in your field of interest.  Remember, different colleges may name the exact same or similar majors with different titles.  So, search for the several titles that your specific major may be given by colleges!

 If you are still undecided by what you want to do, it is perfectly fine!   Many college applicants are not sure what major to select when applying to college.  You can apply as an undecided major to most colleges.  You can also apply as an Interdisciplinary Studies major < go to http://www.collegeatlas.org/multi-interdisciplinary-studies-colleges.html>, an Area Studies major <go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area_studies>, a general liberal arts major http://www.elearners.com/online-education-resources/degrees-and-programs/mini-guide-to-a-liberal-arts-degree/ or just wait until later when you are decided on a major.   

 Depending on the college, you will have to – at the least – complete your core requirements.  Those courses may spark your interest in a major.  Trying different subjects in college can help influence your decision on what you would like to pursue for as a career.  Also, try an internship, a co-op job or volunteer at an organization to have different experiences in areas that you may want to major.  You may discover the right path for you or you may find out what you definitely do not want to do.  Either way, the information is good for you!

 Where to Look for Colleges        

Searching for colleges can be difficult. If you are undecided on your major, then finding the right college could be even harder. Google is a great search engine to information. There are great websites out there that serve as “search engines” for finding information on colleges < go to http://www.petersons.com/college-search.aspx or or http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/>.   You can even read the college’s newspapers <go to http://www.world-newspapers.com/college.html or http://www.studyworld.com/college_newspapers_online.htm or http://www.schoolnewspapersonline.com/clients/client-list/colleges/ >  to make sure that not only is the college major a good fit for you, but also the college’s atmosphere!


There are several common application systems that can make your college search and application process easier.  There is The Common Application < www.commonapp.org/> , the HBCU Common Application https://counselorlogin.com/application.asp,  and the Universal Common Application https://www.universalcollegeapp.com/.  Make sure you read http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/10/05/how-to-save-time-on-your-college-applications.   

I am using The Common Application. Not all colleges are on the Common Application, but it is a start if you are unsure about where to begin. You should ask your counselor and the college what method the college may prefer for their college application.

 My high school, Seneca Valley High School, uses Naviance <go to http://www.naviance.com/students/> to send transcripts and recommendations electronically to all schools to which I am applying. Not only can this system send college application materials, but it can also help you in your  online search for all colleges!

With Naviance you can search by state, major, cost, and many other categories. You can look up specific information on each college, such as finding out seeing if it accepts applications online, tuition costs, admission requirements, and so much more! See your counselor about Naviance, and ask if you can make your own account for your college applications. Naviance helps a lot. Believe me, I know!

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About Abel Alfonso

Abel Alfonso is a senior at Seneca Valley High School interested in the technical aspects of television. He completed MCM’s Backpack Journalism Academy this past summer and is looking forward to creating more news packages for MCM’s website.


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