Top 5 College Choice Tips

Love lots of schools? Find the best college fit for you using these search tips.

Getting acceptance letters from your top college choices is awesome. Having to choose between them? Not so much. If you're in love with all your favorite universities (and they love you back), you have some hard choices to make. Here are five techniques you can use to narrow the field.

5. Social Media

College visits last only a day or two, but social media allows you to follow your top picks as long as you like. Go beyond the campus tours to see what else a school and its students have posted on Facebook. Follow up on campus life through Facebook or get updates on events and deadlines on Twitter. At Saint Louis University, you can even follow and Tweet with its mascot, the Billiken! Check SLU out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for an inside glimpse.

4. Alumni Associations

Even if the college you're dreaming of is hours away, odds are it has alumni right in your own back yard. Find local branches of alumni associations through LinkedIn or a quick Google search. Recent alums can tell you about life on campus while more seasoned grads can give you an idea of where you can head with your degree. SLU has graduates living in every American state and more than 130 countries worldwide, with alumni clubs everywhere from California and New York to Taiwan and Thailand. Look them up and ask away!

3. Mission Statements

You know what's important to you, but what's important to the universities that you are considering? Mission statements aren't always included in mailings or flashing at the top of a web site, but they are worth seeking out. College mission statements tell you what that institution, and the people working there, value most. Read about SLU's mission.

2. Rankings

Compare your top colleges to see how they stack up in rankings by well-respected organizations. Don't forget to look at exactly what factors are being ranked and how they are weighted. Then look a little deeper. Check out the reputation of the programs that interest you most at those schools. No school is tops at everything, so decide which rankings, and which factors, matter to you most.

1. Visit  

Visiting a university's campus makes it easy to imagine what it would be like walking to class there. You see (and even sleep in) the dorms, taste the food and talk to current students and faculty who can answer all your questions. (Read more about what to ask on a college visit.) Visiting a college in person is best, but if you can't make it across the country, or even across the world, technology has you covered. Most universities now also offer video or online virtual tours of campus. You can chat with a counselor or do almost all your research online, too.

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