For nearly every single step of a high school student's road to college, there are countless resources that can really help you (or your parents) make things easier and clearer. Twitter accounts to follow. Guides to download. People to answer your questions. Here are our top picks to bookmark stat.
THe INITIAL SEARCH
Resource: Those who know you best. Talk to your family, favorite teachers and school counselors about the kinds of things you think you're interested in when it comes to college. You don't need to know everything at this point, but toss out your initial wish list... big or small? Want a specific major? Where, geographically, would you love to live? These people (especially your school counselor!) can likely already suggest a few colleges to look at right off the rip. Jot those down.
As you build your list
Resource 1: A college fair. Whether it's at your school or a nearby location, a college fair is the perfect opportunity to chat with schools you may or may not know about and start collecting materials you can spread out on your bedroom floor and look over during the months to come. (And here's a free college fair tip sheet to help you make the most of your attendance!)
Resource 2: The Internet. Search for anything you're interested in learning about. Even if that means: "What's it like to go to college undecided?" "Should I go to a public or private school?" "What are Siena's College's majors?" When you come across any articles, guides or school websites that you want to revisit, bookmark those. If you see a form you can fill out to get more info on a particular school or program, do it!
As you narrow it down
Resource: Campus visits. This is our favorite part of the entire college search process. Plan those visits! Nothing will help you whittle down your list better than seeing campuses in person. Here's all of our college campus visit advice in one single blog post.
The Public Vs. Private Debate
Resource: This free public vs. private school guide. Our team actually put this together to help you better understand the differences between both types of schools. In the guide, you'll find a quiz about your learning style, tips for choosing between the two, and misperceptions about both.
FINANCIAL AID ASSISTANCE
Resource 1: The official website for Federal Student Aid. The most reputable source you can go to for all things student aid is studentaid.ed.gov—and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise! There, you'll find in-depth answers on everything from the types of aid that exist to the qualifications you need to take advantage.
Resource 2: Our free financial aid roadmap. Our financial aid team breaks it down in this complimentary guide too, with tips on navigating the online FAFSA, the terms you need to know and their definitions, and advice for comparing awards from different schools.
Resource: The SAT Program on Twitter. Consider @OfficialSAT your gateway to allllll the other test prep resources out there that warrant your attention: video lessons, reminders, score information, inside-the-test details and beyond.
Resource 1: The College Board's website. It's the holy grail of college application tips, with checklists, guides and more. So if you're looking for something really comprehensive, this is the way to go.
Resource 2: Siena's blog. Listen, we'd be remiss if we didn't say that we do our darndest to feed our blog with let's-get-real, easy-to-read application advice straight from our admissions team. To get right to the blog posts that pertain to your college apps, visit the "Admissions Info & Advice" category and have at it. And if you ever have any questions, our team is happy to help.
Good luck on your search—and enjoy the ride!