Finding the Right College

  • How to generate a list 
    How do you generate a list of colleges that may be the right match for you? After all, there are over 4,000 colleges in the United States. Where do you begin? There is no one source of information to get you started. The key is to talk to a variety of people and to use a variety of resources. Listed below, are steps we have found helpful for students and parents.


    • Talk with your family as you think about what you are looking for in a college. Get ideas from older friends and siblings who have recently looked at colleges. What major interests you? How far away from home do you want to be? What size student body would make you comfortable? Are you interested in starting at a four-year college or a two-year college? Do you have a preference for public or private colleges? Is the "name recognition" of the college important to you?
    • Use the Internet for college exploration and virtual tours (see College Planning Websites). Many websites offer you the opportunity to input specific criteria you want in a college, and then you are given a list of colleges that meet your criteria.
    • You should start your search in the 10th grade.
    • The College Board's, "Index to Majors" is a good resource for quickly identifying which schools have the major that interests you. After getting a list of schools from this guide, you can use the College Handbook, websites or college catalogs to gain more specific information about the colleges.
    • Check college websites. Every college posts online information about their requirements for admission and the requirements to earn a degree from their school. First, be sure you have the requirements for admission. Second, make sure the degree requirements are ones you would find appropriately challenging.
    • Students with disabilities should find out what services are available at each college. You want to make sure the school can accommodate your needs. To find this information out, you should check their website, and contact the Disability Services Coordinator (every school has a different name for this).
    • Share your list with your counselor. Your counselor may offer more ideas and also give you an idea as to how your GPA and SAT scores rank for colleges on your list. Also, since the counselors track how recent Oriskany graduates fared in admissions decisions, your counselor can give you information more specific than that found in published college guidebooks. This information is also available on many websites.
    • Colleges will usually request specific information from the high school. This information will usually be a copy of the high school transcript and a school profile (see appendix). School profiles include important information, such as what courses we offer, how many AP classes are available and the SAT and GPA range of students. This is important for you to know when selecting your classes. Colleges will be aware of what academic opportunities were available to you when reviewing your transcript.
    • Once you have a tentative list, visit with college representatives who come to Oriskany and go visit college campuses. You will begin to narrow down your list. If you find you eliminate all schools from your list, start over! Don't worry! There are many colleges out there that could be right for you. There is not "one" right college.