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Gathering the Facts
Gathering the facts is about YOU

It's the documented facts like grades, class rank and test scores, but it's also about what makes you unique as a person and how well you know yourself.

You have to take the time to gather the facts about what makes you unique for three reasons:

  1. To make the commitment to get to college and to achieve your goals when you're there.
  2. To best understand what type of person you are and therefore what type of college environment would be the best fit for you.
  3. To be able to articulate who you are as a unique person on college application essays and in interviews.

The primary things you need to analyze about yourself include characteristics of your personality, how you best learn new material, what are your strongest skills, what are your career interests, what types of leisure activities do you enjoy, in what type of environment are you most comfortable.

Some of these things you can figure out for yourself by thinking about it and writing down some of your thoughts and ideas. People close to you can be helpful as well by pointing out characteristics, skills and other aspects of what they know about you. Doing objective assessments can be most helpful in gaining a true understanding of yourself. A good counselor has access to numerous assessments and can provide the in-depth interpretations you can't get anywhere else. Interested? See Services.

There are online assessments that are fun to do and can provide some information. There is an "entertainment" aspect to many of these that limits their usefulness, but it's a place to start. Two sites are recommended because what they offer has some basis in scientific research, so their results are more credible than the simple entertainment quizzes: (click on "START TESTING NOW" to get the complete list of test choices) and to explore a series of useful personality, skills and career assessments.

You then must translate all that you've learned about yourself into words and action, by matching your needs and interests to a college that "fits" and writing essays that clearly paint a picture of your assets to the colleges you choose.

More and more, quality colleges are focusing on subjective criteria in selecting students for the freshman class, so your ability to know and articulate your talents and characteristics in writing and in an interview is crucial to set you apart from other applicants.

Move on to "Making a choice"