An Internet Road Map for the College-Bound Student
From building your preliminary college list to completing your applications to getting ready for your first year at college, the Internet can help you in nearly every part of the college search (except for actually making your decisions, that is). But surfing the Web can also eat up time better spent on schoolwork, time with friends, or even sleeping—with no guarantee that you'll find what you're looking for.
To make sure that your time on the information superhighway is fun instead of frustrating, read on for a guide to Internet use for the college-bound.
One of the best ways to maximize your time online is the savvy use of search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Dog Pile). You can type in "college admission" and get a list of thousands of sites. So, it's best to have a good idea of what you're looking for: lists of college home pages, financial aid help, applying online, tips on essays?
Beginning Your College Journey
From the very beginning of your college search, the Internet can be a valuable tool. A good place to start is with Web sites that provide databases of colleges. Depending on the site, you can type in the geographical area, size, setting, major(s), and other characteristics that interest you. You'll then see a list of colleges that match your preferences. These "comparative" sites are a great way to generate a long list of colleges to research further. You might find colleges you haven't even thought of.
As with all information online (or elsewhere, for that matter), consider the source before deciding how much to depend on it. Some comparative sites only include the colleges that pay for the privilege of being listed, so you could miss some good options if you rely on only one site. You'll find that some comparative sites have more information than others about individual colleges. Also, a comparative site may not have the most up-to-date information on deadlines and other time-sensitive material. For that, it's best to check the colleges' Web sites directly.
Some sites that offer college search options (as well as other college information) include:
There are also many sites about the college admission process in general.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. © 2008 National Association for College Admission Counseling.
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