7 Common College Search Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Posted January 14, 2022 by in Lifestyle
Joyful multiethnic students walking in park and chatting

Are you searching for the right college? As college application rates rebound, colleges will look to attract the best students possible. Regardless of your academic performance, there’s a college out there for you. It doesn’t mean settling for the first or the most affordable.

Consider reading below as we look at seven common college search mistakes to avoid.

Positive diverse female students preparing for exam together in park

1. Avoiding Campus Tours

One of the most vital parts of any college search strategy is the college campus tours. Never avoid these campus visits that will give you a feel of the college’s general vibe. During a campus tour, you’ll learn more about the college. Is the walk around the campus enjoyable? Are the people within the community accommodating? 

Check the dining halls and restaurants in and around the campus. What kind of meal plans does the college offer? Do they accept vegan and other special diets? Ask about the on-site services like a clinic and on-campus pharmacy. Visit the school’s recreation center and see the type of equipment they use.

Keep your phone inside your bag during the tour to avoid and distractions. Ask the tour guide some critical questions about the college. 

2. Limiting Your Options to One Institution

As much as you or your parents may want you to study in a particular institution, you shouldn’t limit your options to a single one. Look for different colleges offering the programs you wish to pursue.

Talk to your teachers and ask for references. It’s okay to have a “dream school,” but you should also manage your expectations if you don’t qualify. One way of doing so is to apply to more than one college.

Consider the safety of the campus before finalizing your decision. Does the college have a good track record for safety and security? Consider the school’s proximity to your home. If getting to your dream school from your house takes long, gauge if the daily commute is worth it. If not, you may need to consider staying near the school.

Check the on-campus facilities like the residence halls. Some campuses offer singles, doubles, and apartment-style spaces. Ask how much they cost and if you’re eligible.

Look at these Liberal Arts Colleges if you plan to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree.

3. Writing Last-Minute Essays

Avoid writing your essays until the last minute. Doing them near the deadline only adds more pressure. Instead, write them as early as summer before your senior year of high school. If you’re struggling, ask if your high school offers programs to help you write essays. If they don’t, look for other institutions with essay-writing summer programs.

The earlier you work on your essays, the more time you’ll have for revisions. You can review them with your parents and make the necessary adjustments without feeling the deadline’s pressure.

As for your other requirements, complete them ahead of the deadline. Let your parents know about everything so they can assist you. Make sure not to let them complete the application for you. Be independent by taking charge of your application. You may ask for help, but you must complete the requirements and submit them on time.

4. Rushing the Selection Process

One of the most costly common college search mistakes to avoid is rushing the selection process. As you go through your college options, take your time to do some research. Read about different colleges and universities that offer competent programs. Compare their offerings to see which one aligns with your goals best.

If you still don’t know which program to pursue, find a college that offers a wide variety of majors. It’s normal for students to switch majors in the middle of their college journey. Enrolling in a school with various academic programs will keep you from transferring to another college.

5. Allowing the Sticker Price to Bully You

Sticker prices of colleges often intimidate students and parents, forcing them to look for a more affordable option. Don’t commit the mistake of letting the price bully you. Ask if the college offers scholarships, financial aids, or grants. If you’re doing well in high school, you may get a shot at a scholarship.

On the flip side, never underestimate the price of higher education. Some families have no idea how much it will cost them. Comparing college costs is vital in the selection process.

6. Using Parents’ Contact Details

Avoid using your parents’ contact details as the primary contact. Instead, use your email to let the school contact you directly. Learn about the rules, guidelines, and requirements of your desired college.

Connecting with the school’s administration gives you a sense of ownership for your application. It streamlines the process by giving you direct access to the admissions office. You also avoid confusion with the transmission of details.

7. Selling Yourself Short

Lastly, don’t sell yourself short by assuming a rejection of your application. Have a winning mindset where you’ll give your best, no matter what. Even if you feel that your chances of getting into a top-tier school are slim, don’t hesitate to apply. The key is to have many applications. If you don’t make it to your top choice, you’ll have other quality options as a backup.

If you pass the exams in more than one college, don’t let your family dictate your choice. You can seek guidance from your parents, but the final decision should be yours. Go to an institution that feels right for you.

Happy female student walking in college

Avoiding these common college search mistakes makes college applications less complicated. You can also save more time and increase your chances of admission. However, finding the right college is only the beginning. Learn more tips to help make better decisions in life.

Do you need more helpful guides? Check out our different articles for more.