I’m struggling to find school that I want to apply too. I’ve already looked in my area.but I don’t even know where to start looking in other states.
Thanks for posting your question. I think you will find that you are in good company because a lot of HS students don't know where to start.
Let's start with the most practical question which is whether you can actually afford to look outside of the state you live in. For many middle class and upper middle class students who have average grades or even good grades, course rigor and ECs, sometimes it is cost prohibitive for them to apply to schools that are not State Colleges in their state. In my experience, the one time I felt I had an advantage applying from my zip code was during the college admissions process because for K-12 my family lived in the lower income bracket compared to my peers families. Most of my peers and friends who lived in million+ dollar houses ended up at State Colleges regardless of whether they were A students in the top 10% because regardless of their families' assets and income, hardly any of them could justify paying close to $350,000 to attend a 4 year college out of state. If there are not a lot of citizens who value a Top College Degree in your town, then the overwhelming driver of any family decision is to protect and grow wealth versus cashing out for an education. On the other hand, if you live in Andover, Ma, you might actually find there is an advantage to saving and sending your kids to Private Boarding schools because they have an advantage to getting in to Top Private Colleges.
Only a couple students ended up a Top Privates under Merit Scholarships like the USC Presidential scholarship which gave 1/2 tuitions based on the Collegeboards Merit award for the SAT.
Therefore, I would immediately ask my parents if you have the flexibility to pay out of state tuition either at a Private or Public University. You can also double check this by running a NPC Net Price Calculator result for say UMASS Amherst and Tufts University to see what the difference in financial aid is.
Once you know how much your parents can afford to pay for your college education, whether it's ZERO, $350,000 or something in the middle like $175,000, you can figure out the kinds of schools you can apply to.
The other major factor is finding a college that is a good fit for your personality, academics, interests, talents and long term goals. You don't want to be stuck at a Large Christian University in Utah if you are a Muslim or Jewish kid. Nope, that's a non-starter. And if you are a BIPOC or Queer kid you are probably not going to apply to TCU, SMU or University of Alabama unless they recruit you for a full ride football scholarship.
If you have a spike interest like Drama, Singing, playing an Instrument, you might want to consider a liberal arts education at a top private liberal arts college. I don't know anything about you like your grades, quality of ECs, course rigor, Test Scores and talents, so it's very important that you put all your stats into a CollegeVine profile and create a loose list of college to compare them against. Depending on your chances you will be better informed about the kinds of schools that want you and the schools that offer the best type of education for you.
If you are a top 5% student at your school, you probably have the most flexibility in where you apply because you will be attractive to 99% of the schools and some will give out either merit or need base aid because you are a talented student. As you move down your rank in comparison to your peer group, you will have fewer colleges to pick and choose from. And if you are in the 50% group or an average student, it probably makes more sense to stick with State Schools because that is their target market, the average HS student coming from your own state.
There are many many videos and blog posts about how to create a college list so you can research them here or do a google search or a youTube search and find them.
Maybe look for schools that peek your intrests; For example if you're into art or anything you're passionate about you could find schools that have similar programs and such that you want to study and pursue in.
usnews.com is a great resource they have a bunch of different lists of colleges (ex. colleges in the northeast, best colleges with major, colleges with highest/lowest acceptance rate, colleges with low tuition, etc.
If you know what you want to major in, I'd recommend looking at what schools offer programs for that major first. If you're currently undecided, look at factors such as the size, cost, location, etc. of schools. You can find places to take online quizzes to match your preferences with schools as well. Hope this helps :)
Assuming you've already explored CollegeVine, the first resource I would suggest using is USNEWS.com. USNews lets you explore different colleges/universities both locally and out of state as well. They also show you which are the best universities for what you want to study along with tools to compare potential choices. The second resource I would suggest using is Princeton Review. Princeton Review works very similarly to USNEWS as it allows you to search for different universities and colleges. Princeton Review also has a ton of resources that can help guide you along the process as well. The third resource I would suggest using while exploring potential schools is Raise.me. Raise.me matches you with schools and awards you scholarships based off of academic and extracurricular activities. Those scholarships can than be "cashed in" when you apply to universities/colleges. The fourth tool I would suggest utilizing is a website college CampusReel. CampusReel allows you to explore, compare, and research universities all through an interface similar to Collegevine. Lastly, use google. I spent hours researching different majors, schools, and rankings all through various websites found on google.
Best of Luck! You got this.
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