The Enrollment Lottery is now completed.
We are continuing to accept Letters of Intent for all grades,
and children will be added to wait lists, first come, first served.
Please visit the Enrollment Process page for more information.
A General Guide to College Admission Requirements This chart will give you a general idea of admission requirements, ranging from the "Highly Selective Colleges" to those that are "Open Enrollment."
Understanding the Language Use this glossary to help you understand the vocabulary used in the world of college admission.
College Fair Tips If you've never been to a college fair, use these tips to learn how to make the most of this important opportunity.
Questions for College Reps Be sure to have some questions for college reps, either when they come to MacLaren or at a college fair. Use this guide to help you prioritize the information that is important for you to learn.
25 Common Myths About College There are some misperceptions, often fed by various media, that are either downright false or tend to be gross generalizations. Take a look at these myths and make sure you base your college search on finding the right matches for you!
ACM College Planner The Associated Colleges of the Midwest created this wonderful little booklet to help you navigate the college process!
The College Search This handout from the Junior Workshop series will give you some general criteria to consider as you begin to define what your priorities are.
College Quest As you begin to consider what your priorities are, use this exercise to explore useful websites related to researching college options.
Tips for College Research You may need to fine tune your search, due to an unusual major or career interest. Tapping into professional associations or accrediting organizations can give you more insight about programs to consider.
Finding your College "Match"
A veteran admission professional once said, "College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won," a concept that sometimes gets lost throughout this process. While the choices you make will certainly have an impact on your future, try to avoid the mindset of finding the "best" college or "dream" college. If you are planning on staying in-state, consider identifying and applying to three institutions that may vary in terms of size, type of location, as well as admission selectivity. Students who are applying to out-of-state schools, which may include a mix of private colleges, should increase the number of institutions under consideration initially to a list of 10-12, and submit 6-8 applications, depending on the selectivity of the college and the student's profile. Keep in mind that this is a process, during which you will grow and change, hopefully reflecting about who you are as a person and who you want to become. By keeping your options open by submitting multiple applications, you have a better chance of having the flexibility to weigh each offer of admissions and the accompanying financial aid package!
One of the most difficult pieces of this college puzzle is getting a sense of a college's culture. In addition to possibly interacting with a school's social media presence (blogs, facebook, etc.), taking a look at what is included in the college newspaper (a student publication) might be helpful. Be sure to read several editions however! Check out these two sites: NewsLink and World Newspapers
There are many excellent websites to use during your college search:
NACAC The National Association for College Admission Counseling is the premier resource for parents and students to gain free advice on College Preparation, College Search, Applying to College, Paying for College and Succeeding in College.
U.S. News and World Report College Personality quiz This exercise might help you understand what "college personality" will be a good match for you, aside from the academic criteria.
Washington Monthly College Rankings Another ranking of colleges based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). You can view overall rankings of Liberal Arts colleges; Universities; "Best Bang for the Buck;" and "Affordable Elite College Rankings."
Money Magazine's College Rankings A new ranking that might be useful
Kiplinger's Best College Values Another ranking that involves cost, graduation rates, and much more! Also check out lists of colleges with strong financial aid under the Financial Aid category on the left.
Personal Inventory of College Styles
Academic Programs Check out these lists from U.S. News & World Report identifying colleges who offer a variety of programs that will add to your college experience and help prepare you for the world that awaits you after you graduate from college. (Scroll down to "Academic Programs to Look For")
College Reality Check How much will you actually pay for your degree? Will you graduate on time? Will you make enough to repay your debt? Find colleges and compare their stats on this site.
College Noodle Yet another college search site but your search results will instantly share useful information about individual colleges such as "education quality, outcomes, environment" and lots more including virtual tours and anything else you'd want to learn about an institution!
College Lists A wiki that is regularly updated with new lists to address every academic interest you can think of, along with lots of other obscure information!
Campus Safety and Student Engagement
The internet has given students and parents alike resources to get some sense of a campus culture. All colleges that accept Federal Funds are required to report their Campus Security statistics which is limited to crimes committed on a college campus. Typically, the most frequently reported incidents involve petty theft but reports of frequent brawls involving drunk students might be worth noting! Check out these websites to research colleges of interest:
Student engagement has been measured for the last few years by an organization that does a national survey each year in an attempt to document the learning and social environment on college campuses. For more information and to use this as a tool in your college research, click here.
If you're a "putting pencil to paper" kind of person, the following exercises/worksheets may be helpful in your "work in progress" college match or take a look at the booklet published by the Associated College of the Midwest, "The Pre-College Planner":
Identifying Puzzle Pieces
Getting Started on the Key Piece
The Pre-College Planner
As you pace yourself, investigating colleges over a period of many months, stay organized and make notes about the important characteristics (to you) of each institution. This chart can be a starting point:
College Comparison Chart
More food for thought as you review your "long" list of potential college matches:
To help you make the most of your college visits, consider using the "guide" below. Review the questions ahead of time and select the questions that are most important to you. You might want to ask several students the same questions and include asking about what a typical weekend looks like and what are the issues that students seem to be talking about outside of class. You might also ask students what they would change about their college if they had a magic wand!
Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: Questions to ask on your college visit
Which college is Right for You?
Campus Visit Checklist Review this before you visit to get the most out of your time on campus
Interview Tips You might want to "practice" you interview abilities by first interviewing at schools that aren't as selective as the top ones on your list. Or, you can ask to schedule a "mock" interview session with some of our faculty members.