How to Research Colleges

Meet with your counselor during the spring of your junior year to discuss your future plans. Your counselor can help you by suggesting colleges, or other post secondary training programs for you to research. Encourage your parents to contact your counselor and set up a time to discuss your plans. College Searches can be conducted via the internet. See Links at the top of the Guidance page.

Visit local colleges and then plan some out of state visits over the week-ends in the Fall.

Developing a College List 

There are many factors to consider when you are compiling a college list. You should consider some of the following and then meet with your counselor. 


Location - States that you are willing to consider 
Size - Small (up to 3,000) Medium (3,000-10,000) Large (10,000+) 
Type- Public, Private, Religious Affiliations, Historically Black, Career/Vocational 
Majors offered - Liberal Arts, Business, Technical, Science, Math, etc. 
Student Body - male, female, coed, racial diversity, etc. 
Special Programs - programs for learning-disabled students, tutoring labs, etc. 
Extracurricular Activities - clubs, teams, sports, etc. 
Financial Considerations - All students should have at least one school that would be affordable should they not receive enough financial aid. 
Admission Chances - Students should have one or two colleges from each of the following: REACH, PROBABLE MATCH, SAFETY. 

After you have determined the characteristics you are looking for in a college, you will need to meet with your counselor who can help you to develop a list of colleges for you to research. Initially, you may have 20 colleges on your list, but you will need to refine it to a final list of approximately 10 colleges. 

Even if you are an outstanding student, you may not be offered admission to all of the schools to which you apply. Many selective colleges deny more students than they accept, therefore it is important for your final list to contain schools from each of the categories which we will define as reach, probable or match, and safety colleges. Keep in mind that this is not an exact science, but it is our best guess based upon graduates from STHS who were admitted to specific colleges in the previous years. 


These are colleges where the percentage of admitted students is very small, such as Ivy League Schools and highly selective colleges. A reach also refers to schools where your credentials aren't as strong as those they have admitted in the past from STHS or aren't as strong as the last freshmen class admitted. Statistics on admitted freshman classes are outlined in The College Handbook. 


Your credentials for admission are similar to those admitted from STHS in previous years and are similar to the previous freshmen class as outlined in the College Handbook. 


These are schools where your credentials are stronger than most and we are fairly confident that you will be admitted. Community Colleges are a safety for most seniors.