The Ultimate Guide to the College Search from U.S. News & World Report

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — College is one of the most difficult and expensive investments that students and their families will make, and U.S. News & World Report has the tools to help. Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News, offers four key tips for beginning the college search.

  1. Focus on fit: Students should narrow down their ideal majors and decide if they want a rural or city campus, small or large classes, a school across the country or one closer to home. To start, U.S. News' college search tool has more than 1,800 college profile pages with in-depth information on alumni starting salaries, graduation rates, tuition cost and financial aid, class size and student body breakdown.
  2. Be mindful of application deadlines: The majority of schools have a regular decision deadline of Jan. 1, with students expecting to hear back sometime between March and April. However, some schools offer early decision or early action deadlines that can come as soon as November. Other schools have rolling admissions, which means they will evaluate applications as they receive them and release decisions on a regular basis. Remember these dates so that deadlines for top-choice schools aren't missed.
  3. Write the college essay: One of the most important aspects of the application is the college essay, and students should start working on it as soon as possible. Essays have a 650-word limit on the Common App, an application platform that allows students to submit materials to multiple colleges, and the prompts are usually open-ended.
  4. Discuss cost and affordability in detail: Don't let a school's sticker price stop you from applying – sometimes seemingly expensive schools offer a considerable amount of financial aid. However, understand the implications of student loan debt, and remember that the average cost of attending college can vary based on whether a school is public or private, in- or out-of-state and more.

“Applying to college is a process years in the making and requires lots of family support, dedication and detailed research,” said Narayan. “This is where U.S. News comes in: In addition to our annual Best Colleges rankings that evaluate schools based on academic quality, we offer year-round expert advice and tips on finding the right school, preparing for college admissions tests, submitting applications and paying for college.”

Additional U.S. News resources that can help with the college application process include tools comparing schools and College Compass, which provides the full picture of the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. Below are more tips and guides on applying to college:

These guides serve U.S. News' broader mission of providing trusted information and rankings to help students navigate their higher education options. U.S. News also publishes annual rankings of the Best High SchoolsBest CollegesBest Global UniversitiesBest Graduate Schools and Best Online Programs.

About U.S. News & World Report Celebrating its 85th year, U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE U.S. News & World Report

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