A Roadmap: Where to Start the College Admissions Process

I’m dating myself with the word Roadmap.  Instead, let’s talk about a GPS for the College Admissions Process, shall we? True story – 5th grade map reading is the only academic unit I have ever failed.  And, I have yet to recover. I don’t know about you, but I am completely dependent on the navigation app on my phone.  I rarely stop to consider which compass direction I am traveling; rather, I allow the voice to tell me where to turn, when to exit, and when I have arrived at my destination.  Unfortunately, the college admissions process isn’t quite that simple.  Finding the best college fit requires self-awareness, research, brainstorming and organization. The process may seem like a long winding road, and you will likely hit some bumps along the way, but I assure you that when you arrive at the correct destination, it will be worth every minute of your effort. Start your engines!

The Complete Candidate™ will help you organize your journey and logically move you through the steps in the college application process. For me, some of the first steps are the most fun, and often prove the most critical.  Who doesn’t like to discover things about themselves? I am a fan of personality and learning style assessments. The results won’t determine which colleges to apply to, but they often reveal things about your personality and learning style that can help you formulate your “best-fit” college list.  Factors such as geographical region, climate, suitable school size, class sizes, athletics, school spirit, courses of study, and academic and extra-curricular opportunities such as study abroad programs, are all important factors but so is an understanding of how your learning style matches a specific college’s teaching style.  Do you learn by reading or are you someone who gets more out of a small group discussion?  Do you need a break from the theories and arguments of the classroom?  If so, maybe a co-op program is right for you.  Taking this first step to get a real understanding of who you are and how you learn will be critical in finding the right school that can propel you on your continued development.  Use the tools provided by The Complete Candidate™ to assess your personality and learning style. Do some soul searching. Start to extrapolate aspects of your personality and how they fit into various college environments.

With almost 5000 colleges and Universities in the U.S., the process of researching and selecting your target list may seem daunting. Look at it from another perspective. With so many options, there are certainly several that will fit your specific requirements.  The Complete Candidate™ will fuel you through this phase of your journey by providing you with the appropriate college search engine where you can pair the results of your custom learning assessment with colleges that meet your criteria. At this juncture, I encourage students to keep an open mind.  There are a handful of schools that college-bound students hear of over and over. These schools benefit from great reputations as well as generations of well-oiled public relations programs.  Many are excellent choices, but for every “big name” you are familiar with, there are 20 or 30 schools that can offer you an outstanding education in a similar environment – and, often with better graduate school and job placement results.  Every seasoned traveler knows, you must keep your eyes open for the unexpected adventures along your path.

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