Chicken or Egg? Costs or Preferences? Where to begin building your college list?

With college costs at an all-time high, and news articles touting that many colleges are now offering discounted tuition, students might feel baffled by how to approach their college search and prioritize what’s most important. Is the starting place for a college search based on what you can afford, academics, or some combination of both?  Should you start with looking at public universities in your state, or identify “Likely” schools that may offer the most merit or financial aid, or aim for a school that fills most of your buckets? The good news is that no matter which approach you choose, as long as you put your needs and goals at the center, understand how the admissions process works, and have realistic expectations, looking for schools that are right for you is all within your control.

As you begin your college search take advantage of free resource tools like Big Future to create a 'Super Match' and College Scorecard, to research colleges. Learning how financial aid works, both merit and need-based, and terms like 'EFC' - Expected Family Contribution, FAFSA, and how to use a Net Price Calculator will help you assess the landscape of colleges and traverse your road to college.

Looking for more college resources? Visit College Resources and Books and the college.u blog for more tips.

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