If  you are lucky enough to be a parent or guardian of a junior or senior high school student, your mailbox is stuffed each week with college recruitment information, letters, brochures, and etc. You’ve probably started receiving phone calls too! If you are a junior or senior, more than likely,  you’ve had your first trip to a college fair  and you’ve left with an armful of brochures, college pennants, pens, and note pads from various colleges and universities.

No matter if your are a student or parent, you are probably wondering “now what.”

Rather than just tossing the information in the trash or in the junk drawer, take a minute to follow these steps so you can narrow down your choices, save some money, earn some money, and become a top recruit. First, sort the colleges by size of school, location, or the major you are interested in pursuing. The major is most important because there is no need to waste time looking at colleges that don’t offer your program of study. 

Similar to opening up the information you receive in the mail, what you do after the college fair is almost more important than what you did at the college fair. It all goes hand-in-hand. Check out these steps my son, Tyler and I, used tonight after he attended the East Atlanta College Fair at this school today. (Thanks, MJHS! We love our high school.)

  1. Rank the schools based on who offers the best program of study for your major. Instead of relying on the school ranking, find out how the school ranks according to the major. For example, my son Tyler and I have ranked schools based on who has the best undergraduate engineering program. 
  2. Check out the admission information. Look for information about the application fees, deadlines, and essay requirements. Also look for information about the average GPA, SAT/ACT, and AP/IB score requirements for admission. 
  3. Check out the tuition. Find out how much is in state and/or out of state tuition and what does tuition cover. Usually, housing and food are not included. If  you don’t see it in there, be sure to ask.
  4. Look for school-specific scholarships. Look for scholarship opportunities such as volunteer, academic, and athletic scholarships that the school offers. Often times it is mentioned in the financial aid section of the brochure. APPLY for it all – grants, financial aid, and scholarships.
  5. Look for dates announcing campus visits and special events or tours. This information will  help you plan your visit to the college. Yes, you will need to plan a visit. Call the number of the college recruiter or the admissions office to make arrangements.

There is always plenty to do with the information you receive from colleges. Be sure to visit the college websites and social media outlets for more information, as they provide you with continuous and the most current information. Too add, it wouldn’t hurt to attend a football or basketball game so you can get a feel for the school spirit.

Do you have any tips you’d like to add? Add them in the comments below.