The trick to finding an awesome school that no one has heard of

You know what’s more important than knowing the school you’re applying to? Knowing yourself. Because the reality is, you don't need to have heard of the school for it to be a good fit. The best boyfriends or girlfriends aren’t always the popular ones. They're just the ones you haven't gotten to know yet. 

We have a limited amount of influencers when you really think about it. You’ve got your parents, your siblings, your friends, their siblings... then there are the teachers that you admire, your guidance counselor, and of course a few school representatives reaching out to you online or mailing you some magazines. The thing is, these are just schools you’ve heard of, not ones you’ve found.

It’s like going into a billionaire’s garage and taking a Toyota, Corolla because you’ve heard of it, when there’s a jetpack in the back. If you want the jetpack then keep reading.

Your first step is to define your college self. Not the person you are exactly, but who you want to be. Be sure to get really introspective and don't just think about what your friends will end up doing. Do you want to join a hiking club? Do you want to frequent music festivals? Do you want to live near a city, or within a tight-knit on-campus community? Most importantly, what do you want to learn? Take some time and think about what matters most to you. After that, research what different schools offer just to find out what’s possible.

Once you’ve defined yourself you need to search for schools based on those traits. You can start with the schools you’ve heard of if you want, but afterwards make a good effort to find less known schools that have what you’re looking for.

Google is a good source, Facebook and Instagram are good sources, Academbot is a good source—but so are your friends and family. While your brother or sister may have only talked about the school they went to, if you ask them "if they know a school that’s close to a beach (lake, river or ocean)" they might just respond with "Oh yeah my friend went to this school on the water that no one had ever heard of. She Loved it." 

College Search

You don't want to take the wrong classes. You don't want to pick the wrong major. You want to graduate. You want to get a good job. You want peace.

It’s OK. Breathe.

Don't try to be someone you’re not—college interviewers are turned off by insincerity.

The college admissions process can look pretty daunting. The thought of having some stranger in a university office poring over your academic past, then making a decision that could impact the next two to four (or more) years of your life is enough to make anyone nervous.

8 Surprising Things You Can Do While Attending College That’ll Help You Get a Job When You Get Out (but have nothing to do with academics).

Here are 17 Sites to help you get the inside scoop on colleges and the towns those colleges are in.

Freshmen make mistakes. Lots of them. But other people's experiences can help you avoid a few. 

Ask an upperclassman or college graduate what words they associate with “freshman” and we guarantee you that “clueless” shows up near the top of the list. It’s not the freshman’s fault. For the most part, going to college is a totally new experience. And having new experiences means making a whole bunch of new mistakes.

You're set to go on your college visit... here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of it.

Getting your college degree online sounds like every student’s dream. You can go to class whenever you want, wherever you want. No worries about parking, dorms, or schlepping a backpack full of books around campus. Instead of adapting to college, college adapts to you…on your own terms.

But we have to warn you: online learning isn’t for everyone.

Maybe you’ve heard about this whole “online college” thing. Maybe you’re thinking it might be a good option for you. It could be. Research has shown that you’ll learn just as well (and as much) taking classes online versus taking them in-person on campus. But there’s a big “if.” The same research shows that online learning might not be the right way to go for everyone. Is an online education right for you? Ask yourself a few questions...