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The College Admissions Process

Learn how to navigate and survive the college admissions process.


March 09, 2009

The College Admissions Process

Ah yes, the college admissions process can be considered a full-time job in itself.

Between the deadlines, filling out the applications and deciding which school to go to — not to mention taking the SATs – prepping for college can be overwhelming to say the least.

Surviving college is one thing. Surviving the college admissions and application process is a whole other ballgame.

CampusCompare’s goal is to help college-bound students decide which school is the best match for them. And once that choice is taken care of, you can cross the biggest hurdle off your list!

Let’s try and make the task of finding the right college for you and applying successfully less daunting — and maybe even slightly enjoyable (don’t worry, we won’t tell…).

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Get the goods: Talk to people and make a preliminary list

A great place to start is by talking to people you know at the colleges you’re interested in. Chat with friends and current college students or grads that you may know, and get a feel for what they have to say. 

Most schools require several letters of recommendation and a personal essay, so start finding out what you’ll need to submit to the different schools on your preliminary list and get the gears in your mind working on whom to ask for a letter of recommendation and what to say in your personal statement. You can find this information in CampusCompare’s “College” section.

Visit the campus

A college brochure and website can give you a superficial, preliminary idea of what the school is about (kind of like a movie trailer), but the feeling you get from a campus visit (not a virtual one!) can give you a whole different – and more genuine — perspective. Try to get the real deal during your campus visit.

Want another reason to stop by college campuses? Many colleges judge you on whether or not you made the effort to visit their campuses. So planning a campus visit is a great way to score early brownie points, as it shows that you are interested in the school and this could help you with your application.

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Call ahead for the campus tour schedule in order to better plan your campus rounds.

In addition to enjoying a tour of the campus courtesy of a student guide, it helps to get the bigger picture by eating a meal or two at the cafeteria, sitting in on some classes, meeting with the admissions department, checking out the facilities, and even staying over if possible.

During your tour, it’s also a good idea to visit the facilities that you know would be of specific interest to you (like the fitness center, for example), and to ask the tour guide or a current student as many questions as you feel are necessary – this is your chance to interview the college, so schedule a meeting with an admissions rep during your visit.

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