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College is an adventure


And the college admissions process can be, too. is a tool to help you understand the basic steps you need to take to get to college. We zero in on the essentials and point you to the best, most up-to-date information. If you get started early—by seriously thinking about all this stuff and making some decisions well before your senior year—you can avoid a lot of stress.
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"But I don't know where to start"

That's what I hear most often. So here's the scoop.

Think in terms of four basic steps.

Step 1

Do you want to go to college? Why? What for?

You may never have stopped to think about this, but it's important. It's your life and your college education, so to increase your motivation and your chances for success, you have to begin by being able to provide an answer to these questions. (If you need some ideas to stimulate your thinking, check out the list in "Start Here.")

If the answer is "No," OK. But then begin to think about what else you will want to do when you graduate from high school. You have to make some plans, identify some goals.

If the answer is "I'm not sure" or "I don't know," then proceed as if the answer is "Yes" because you don't want to close any doors at this point. Keep your options open.

If the answer is "Yes," then you're at the right place. Let's get started.

Step 2

Take an inventory: "Am I taking college prep courses? Am I doing the best work I can in order the get the highest grades I'm capable of?" If the answer to both of those questions is "Yes"—great!

Also, pay attention in your high school to all the announcements directed toward college-bound students—things like ACT or SAT registration deadlines, College Night programs and other opportunities. The academic work, the standardized test taking and the resume building by the activities you do outside of school will all be part of the actual application you write up in the fall of your senior year.

Step 3

Step 3 often is not given enough time or attention because it is complicated, but it is crucial. What you need to do is begin evaluating YOU and evaluating colleges. The "You" part is answering the questions who am I, what are my interests, values and strengths? What are my goals?

Evaluating colleges begins with actually walking around and looking at a college. It means getting comfortable with the college environment and what college is all about. It means reading college brochures, searching college web sites, talking to people who are in college.

The goal of Step 3 is to find the right fit between you and a college. I can help.

Step 4

You're beginning your senior year and now is the time the actual application process begins - you will narrow down your choices, fill out the forms, stay in touch with your high school counselor to make sure your transcripts and recommendation letters are ready to go, start the financial aid process, then choose a place to go among your college acceptance letters!

That's the outline. Use to fill in the colors!

Where to begin? Start here