College Planning

College Planning Timelines

Freshman College Planning Timeline

Sophomore College Planning Timeline

Junior College Planning Timeline

Senior College Planning Timeline


Finding the Right College “Fit”

“One Size Does Not Fit All” – The most important consideration in your college search is whether the college is right for you.  Try to match your personality to the culture of the institution, your interests to the programs available, your academic record to the school’s admission requirements, and your goals to the school’s graduate placement record.  Be advised that “right” for you cannot be determined by looking at the annual “best” guides that appear on newsstands every spring.  What makes a college “right” is different for everyone.

First know yourself

What aspects of your high school years have you enjoyed the most?

What are your academic interests?

How do you learn best?

What careers / majors have you considered?  Try career cruising (username: lacc, password: careers).

What is important to you in a college?

Treat your search like a research project:

See what options are available.  There are many websites available that allow you to search by geography, size, majors available, selectivity, and athletics available.

Talk to people – Ask people you know (parents, teachers, neighbors, PTHS alumni, your guidance counselor, and visiting college admission representatives) where they attended college.  What did they major in?  What did they like and dislike?  You may find the a college you have never heard of would be a great one to investigate.

Find the “right fit” by asking the right questions:

Would you prefer a school in Illinois or one in another part of the country?  Should it be located in a large city, a suburb, or a rural area?  Start with map.  Most students select a school within a few hours driving distance from home, but that is not necessarily the right decision for everyone. 4 Year Colleges within 100 miles of Pontiac

What are my chances of getting in, or how selective is the college?  How do you compare to the typical admitted freshmen for the college?  Try College Navigator to find the information.  Consider the the following are used by a majority of admissions committees as factors in determining the strength of your candidacy:

  • Your grades (This is likely the most important factor)
  • The “rigor” of the academic coursework you took in high school (including your 7th and 8th semesters)
  • Your standardized test scores (ACT or SAT)
  • Other factors can include the quality of your essay (if applicable), teacher or counselor recommendations, your extra-curricular activities, or your personal recognition or awards.

Find out about entrance requirements for the public state colleges in Illinois.

How is College different from High School?

Factors in the College Admission Decision

Organizational Guide to College Applications

College Comparison Worksheet