College guides have their place in helping you select the right college or university for you but don’t get carried away. You shouldn’t choose the college campus where you’ll spend the next four years of your life based on what someone else writes in a book.College guides are good for getting an overview of several colleges quickly. A good college guide will cover such topics as academics, campus life, the student body, financial aid, housing, etc. But before you even start reading the college guide you should jot down your goals in writing.
Some things to consider are do you want to attend a large school or a small school? Some students love the big state universities while others feel swallowed up and would be better off on a smaller campus. What will be your major field of study? Colleges and universities tend to be strong in certain fields and weak in others. How will you pay for college? This is an important consideration. That last thing you want is to go through the college admissions process, get accepted to your number one choice, and then discover that you can’t afford the tuition. Think about all these issues before you even start looking at colleges and reading college guides.
Now that you’ve jotted down some of the important issues, it’s time to start doing some research by reading college guides. Start narrowing down your choices by reading the excerpts of all the colleges and deciding if that particular school is worthy of further consideration. It shouldn’t be very difficult whittle the choices down to a few.
But you should also seek more information. Ask friends and family who have been to college. Seek advice from high school career counselors. Get as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision. Ultimately though it’s your choice so gather all the information you can get and process it against your own wish list. Don’t let someone talk you into attending their alma mater just because they liked it. What’s most important is what’s best for you.
When you’ve read the college guide and narrowed down your choices to a few colleges and universities, contact those schools and request all the information they can send including a college admission packet. You may later decide not to apply, but it’s best to have the college admission packet handy just in case you do apply so that you can avoid the delay of having to contact the school again.
The last thing to remember is that the college guide is a useful resource but they’re in business to make money buy selling books. Have you ever read a bad review in a college guide? I don’t believe one exists or that publication probably wouldn’t be allowed back on campus to write future reviews. That being the case, if you’re really serious about a certain college, go visit the campus in person. You can only learn so much from reading a book. You’ll learn a lot more in person. You’ll get a real feel for the campus and have the opportunity to talk to students, professors, and admissions staff.