Beginning the College Search Process - A Guide for Juniors

 By Sara Cronin - Senior Admissions Consultant  

 Former Providence and University of Connecticut Admissions 

Second semester junior year is an excellent time to begin to think about, investigate and plan for the college search process. Many juniors have received their PSAT score reports and with that comes the discussion about what lies ahead following graduation from high school. Many students wonder, where do I begin and how do I know what to look for? Below is a guide to help you begin this exciting and sometimes challenging journey.

I.          Know yourself

Think about what it is you like to do, study, read, discuss, and contemplate. Conversely, it is also important to consider what you don't like to study or if there are particular subjects in school that do not hold your interest. It is your interests, abilities, values, goals and ambitions that will help drive your college search in a particular direction. As you begin to contemplate potential areas of study it is often difficult to consider all the possible options. An interest inventory, career inventory or personality assessment can be good tools to help you get a handle on your strengths and weaknesses. Road To College offers a great way to begin this exploration via our High School Planning or Admission Revue- you can find them here:

II.         Begin the process early and keep an open mind

School break during February and March is an excellent time to begin the search in person; however, there is a great deal to be seen via the internet. Set time aside to do some surfing on the web. Colleges have their own individual websites and there are many college exploration sites as well. If your family is traveling during school vacation try to make a point to visit colleges that may be on your travel route. Begin to consider what may play a factor in your decision: size, distance from home, location, public vs. private, and school philosophy. Just as important when thinking about these factors is to keep an open mind. There are over 3,000 undergraduate colleges and universities across the country and many of these schools can provide the right fit for your college needs. A few great school websites to explore:

UVA provides an interactive and interesting site:

GWU offers the opportunity to closely navigate what it is like to be in the city:

The University of Chicago offers an website that is easy to navigate:

Brown University shares many great images to view:

III.        Do your research

Attend college fairs, presentations and panels. Talk to people such as guidance counselors, college students on break, parents, and friends. Once you have taken the PSAT and as you proceed to take the SAT or ACT, colleges will begin to send you various pieces of information. Read the literature and collect information that is important to you: are you interested in attending a large university that offers unique research opportunities; are you interested in a small college experience where you get to know all your professors; are you considering going to school a distance from home? One place to begin to gather information is at a college fair.  Often high schools will host small fairs; however, there are also national college fairs that attract a large and diverse groups of colleges and universities. Find one in your area this late winter/ early spring:  These College Fairs are often a great place to begin to gather information and to speak with someone from the admissions office.

Road To College is here to help.  Questions that arise can be answered by calling 888-835-4620.


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