Researching Colleges

Now’s the time to start thinking about colleges. But which ones?

Do you want a small liberal arts college on the East Coast? A big football university in the Midwest? A midsize engineering school on the West Coast?

Your college search means finding schools that line up with your interests, academic abilities, and future goals. There are thousands of schools out there, but only a few will be right for you.

Consider these six main points when thinking about your best college fit:

  1. Type of college
    Do I want a two- or four-year college? Do I want a public or private institution? You might be surprised to learn that they often cost the same!
  2. Location
    Do I want to be close to home or venture somewhere new? Might I want to come home on weekends or only on holidays? Keep your mind open, and try not to limit your search by distance right away.
  3. Campus setting
    Do I want to live and learn at a small college or a large university? Do I want to live in a dorm? If possible, it’s helpful to visit schools on your list and experience campus life firsthand.
  4. Areas of study
    Do I know what I want to do after college? What subjects do I enjoy in school? In college, you’ll eventually declare a major, which is the subject you’ll spend the most time studying. But don’t worry if you have no idea about this yet – you have plenty of time to figure it out!
  5. Learning environment
    Do I want to learn in small groups or big lectures? Would I enjoy an academic program with an emphasis on real world experience? Don’t be swayed by a school’s reputation; instead, find out if its academic style is a good fit for you.
  6. Cost
    Will I qualify for financial aid? Do I have a true handle on what college will cost my family and me? If you’re including Coalition schools on your list, you don’t have to worry about this one; they’re proven to be affordable for students!

We encourage you to check out the college landing pages in MyCoalition, because they contain a lot of good, scannable information that could help you answer these questions. And when you build your college list using MyCoalition, you can be assured that all of your choices — from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities — are committed to access, affordability, and success.

Read more: Building a college list > 

Read more: Deciding where to apply >

Additional Resources

Take advantage of all that we have to offer! With MyCoalition, you can store important high school documents and files in your digital Locker, ask for input from trusted family and friends, and even apply to schools.

Learn how to apply to selective colleges and universities from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Explore the benefits of applying to highly selective schools from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Find your perfect college with College Greenlight.

Find the Best Colleges for your needs.

Find your college fit at BigFuture by the College Board.

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