3 Tips to Ace the College Search Process

Ian Sonia

As an Admissions professional, I have seen firsthand the many ways students and families begin their college search process. Some start early. Some start late. Some students even start the process through osmosis by being dragged along throughout their older siblings’ search. Regardless of where you fall in this mix, remember there is no wrong way to go about it.

With that said, I also know that the college search process can carry with it some feelings of anxiety for students. The pressure of needing to make the ideal choice among a sea of options can feel daunting. Add on top of that your current reality of selecting a college during a global pandemic, and it may seem like an impossible task.

Trust me when I say it’s normal to feel this way. And while COVID-19 certainly presents some challenges, nothing is impossible. Why? Because I trust that Admissions teams like ours are eagerly exploring new, creative and innovative ways to connect with prospective students to ensure they don’t feel left in the dark and that the burden of the college search process isn’t the student’s alone to bear. We’re in this together and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

It’s with this in mind that I offer you some advice as you begin the early stages of finding that right college for you:

Firstly, know yourself!

The only way to find the right college for you, is to look inward. What do you want to get out of your college experience? What kind of academic programs are best for you? Where do you feel you will be able to thrive academically, socially, and ultimately, professionally? All of these questions are great starting points to help you begin to narrow down colleges to add to your list.

Next, be organized!

Once you have a list of colleges that are good fits for you, create a document that allows you to have each college’s information readily available. This document should include: academic programs of interest, career development and internship opportunities, location, extracurriculars, cost breakdowns, application deadlines, and other specifics that you feel are your driving factors for choosing a college.

Finally, meet with representatives!

Be sure to attend any virtual visit opportunities that schools offer, whether that be an online information session, or a 1-on-1 video interview with the representative for your school. Making those connections with college admissions officers is a great way to demonstrate your interest and gives you the opportunity to ask them the important questions you need to know about the college.

Of course, as campuses start to re-open to visitors I also encourage you to visit in-person when it is deemed safe to do so as well. After all, one of the best way to picture yourself at a particular college is to actually be on that college’s campus. Until then though, lean on colleges various digital platforms to learn more about life on campus, especially those channels that showcase the perspectives of current students themselves. These authentic viewpoints will go a long way in helping you learn more about your college of interest.

Emmanuel Campus
Ian Sonia
Ian Sonia

Ian Sonia is the Senior Associate Director of Admissions Marketing at Emmanuel College. After attending college in the Virginia Beach area Ian returned to his home state of Massachusetts several years ago. When Ian is not creating content for the Office of Admissions he can be found catching a Red Sox game at Fenway or enjoying one of the many amazing restaurants in the neighborhoods of Boston. He holds a BS in Economics from Christopher Newport University.