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The Best Ways to Make Your College Search More Engaging

The college search process can sometimes feel like nothing more than arduous research. Liven it up with these more engaging ways to learn about schools.

When it comes to finding the right college, everyone’s looking for something different. One student may want to stay in the city. Another may want to join a fraternity at their local state school. Someone else may want to be as far away from home as possible. And still another might want to pursue a degree in Zoology in South America. Whatever it may be, knowing how to search for what you want in a way that connects with you is a skill that high school students must master when deciding which college they want to attend.

Get immersive with college tours

The college search can be boring and tedious with loads of overwhelming information crowding your brain. One way I like to get to know a college is by actively participating in college tours (which are free, by the way). Fitting in one or two nearby campus tours on a weekend is a great, interactive way to get to know more about a college. These experiences can help you understand what life at a school is like and get your questions answered. I recently visited Barnard College and Columbia University, and both tours helped me immerse myself within the actual college experience, giving me a taste of what life in New York City could actually be like.

Related: Campus Tours: What to Expect and How to Prepare Ahead of Time

Explore through social media

Another angle to look at colleges from is social media, which can be used to research what life is really like on campus even further. From extracurricular activities to student forums, you can get a sense of what a school has to offer just by scrolling through their social media channels. For example, Columbia has an Instagram page where they post all sorts of pictures ranging from action shots of students playing basketball to information about the events they host. Social media pages provide valuable information about campus life, student experiences, events, resources, and even opportunities to connect with staff and current students or alumni. Through platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, you can comprehensively learn what makes a college unique.

Interact with alumni

There are other opportunities for more extroverted students to personally get to know a school. For example, alumni interviews are great ways to ask questions and demonstrate interest in a college or university. According to the Dartmouth College admission team, “Alumni interviews are both informative and evaluative. You can ask our alumni your questions, and they can learn more about you through the conversation. An interview report is added to your file and is reviewed along with your other materials.” A conversation with an alumnus is priceless, as they’ve actually undergone the whole admission and student life experience. While your college future is ahead of you, they already have the perspective you need on those formative years. Their minds hold a host of information that could be helpful in making your final college decision, and a simple conversation could be a great way to make you feel more connected to a school.

Related: College Admission Interviews: Everything You Need to Know

Find your passion to find your school

In the end, what really matters is figuring out what you want to do—what you’re passionate about. When choosing a college or university, it’s important to find the best fit for you. So a good place to start is looking for a college that supports your interests and hobbies! Most colleges offer a wide array of academic programs and activities, so it’s important to find a school that supports a variety of your interests. Being able to narrow down your college list through these wants and needs is extremely useful when looking at schools. Good luck with your search!

You can explore and engage with colleges and universities right here on CollegeXpress. Connect with schools through our featured college profiles now!

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About Jhanvi Wong

Jhanvi Wong is an underclassman attending Millburn High School who is passionate about writing. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, reading, and having fun!


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Caio Matos

High School Class of 2022

Starting the college admissions process as an international student was daunting. Thankfully, CollegeXpress was the first website I used for that cause and it helped me so much, from knowing where to start to deciding what my next move would be. I'll take a gap year, but I’m certainly using the website again when applying for fall 2023.

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Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

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Kelly Nogueiro


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