The College Hunt: Underclassmen


College research can be tricky, and even daunting, especially to underclassmen. You have to decide where you want to get your degree and spend four or more years after high school. Most freshmen and sophomores would rather just put off college exploration until their junior year. Although getting a headstart on this intimidating venture may have more beneficial attributes than you think, but often it’s confusing where to start your search.

The counselors recommend that the best way to start off your college search is online. “There’s one website that’s called that provides a blog, so there’s real discussions about colleges and why and what to look for. It’s more than just looking at the list of best colleges,” said counselor Jill Benisch.

What students need to look for is finding the college that’s the best fit for them, not just where they’re friends are going or what universities and known as the best. “There’s so much more to it than just what college is most popular or what name is most popular,” said Benisch.

Websites like Naviance and others on the Monarch Counseling website can help underclassmen create a broad list of colleges to consider, which they can later narrow down their junior year by going on college visits.

Campus visits are possibly the most crucial aspect of finding your perfect college. Any time there’s an opportunity to pay a visit to a campus, take it. “Actually sitting on the campus and being able to see yourself there makes such a huge difference,” said Benisch.

But what do you take into account when compiling your potential colleges? Class size, majors, and graduation rate are a few key details, but there’s something even more important. “The town is huge. That’s where you’re going to live for four years,” said counselor John Vidulich. Enjoying the environment you’re in is essential to finding a college that fits you.

A way to communicate with students who have gone to a college you’re considering can also be valuable. Whether its reading a college blog, or talking to a current student about what life is like on campus, talking to real people about it could help you get a feel for the university. The counselors can help students get in touch with Monarch alumni to talk about what college they go to.

Whether you’ve already picked out your dream school or don’t have a clue where you want to go, starting your research is a good idea. It will help relieve the stress of picking colleges junior and senior year, and give you ample time to check out campuses.