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Finding the Right College
The most critical thing to consider when looking at colleges is the match between college and student. Finding a college that offers a major you want is great, but chances are your interests and major will change before you graduate. Make sure the school is a good fit and feel for all of your needs, not just academic. Consider things like:
How many students are there?
How big (or small) are the classes?
What is the distance from home?
What is the weather like?
Do most students live on or off campus?
What sports and clubs are available?
The answer to these questions will be different for every student, so it is strongly advised that students make independent decisions and not be influenced by where their friends are applying.
SuperMatch College Search is a GREAT college search function within Naviance that allows students to enter specific things they are looking for in a college and then presents matches and near matches from among all US colleges. It also provides a wealth of information on each school, organized in a way easy to compare school to school. Students are encouraged to use this tool and save their favorite schools to their "Colleges I'm thinking about" list so that we can notify them of special events relating to the schools they are interested in.
California Colleges is another website with a great college exploration feature. It has information on all colleges, public and private within the state of California.
Affordable Colleges Online is a great place to find lists of colleges with online degree options as well as traditional campus colleges. A unique feature of this website is their ranking system by return on investment. Check out the lists, but stay away from the searches if you don't want to hand over your contact information.