Before you begin narrowing down your list of colleges, take time to get to know yourself. What drives you as a student? What is your personality like? What are your interests and goals? Where can you imagine yourself next year?
Knowing yourself will help you to forge a clearer, more certain path as you search for colleges and it will help with your applications. The better you know yourself, the less likely you are to be plagued by writer’s block when it’s time to write your essays and the more easily you will be able to portray your real self and make the case for why you are a good match for a college. Knowing yourself will also prove valuable down the line when you make your final decision about which college to attend.
To help students get to know themselves better, we advise college-bound students to take the following steps:
- Self-Assess. Complete all three of our recommended self-assessment tests. These tests are specifically designed to guide your college search.
- Envision Yourself Next Year. Utilize our State-By-State Guide to discover schools you might otherwise overlook. In doing so, explore colleges that meet and differ from the criteria defined in your self-assessment tests. Imagine yourself in different parts of the country and on different college campuses. Where can you see yourself fitting in?
- Put Yourself First. Remember to put your interests and your goals first during your college search. As we tell students in the Deeper Dive for Section 1.2 of our 15-Part Video Series course, it’s okay to be a little bit selfish during this time. Finding the right college is all about learning which colleges best suit you and your personality.
Obviously, we caution students against becoming so unglued from reality that they completely ignore factors like cost or distance from home or their chances for admission. But now is not a good time to become timid or bashful. Part of knowing yourself is acknowledging your potential so we encourage students to get a little bit out of their comfort zone, to cast a wide net, and to dream big. Many college-bound students may think they know themselves already.
But self-reflection leads to self-discovery. And self-discovery leads students to better understand who they are and what they want. It is better to embark on this journey of self-discovery while in high school than to wait until after you’ve enrolled in a new college so why wait? Go ahead and dive in.