The 21st Century College Search: Way Easier Than It Used To Be!

It has been more than two years since I first wrote about starting the search for the college that D would eventually attend.

I am shocked to have to report that we are now beginning the same search, for J’s post-secondary home. (You feel old, right? Welcome to MY world!)

When we began the college search the first time around, I had a rather elaborate filing system for all of the various fliers and brochures we were quickly collecting. I was dreading collecting all of the updated stuff: it’s too much paper, and not easy to compare schools. I was overjoyed to find out at an informational evening put on by the high school last night that I can toss that system out the window. Heck, I was blown away.

I need to back up a bit (okay, more than a quarter century) so you can truly appreciate the epicness of what I learned last night.

When I was in high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, the guidance counselors’ office had a small, closet-sized room that was dedicated to colleges and careers. As a matter of fact, it may have even been a closet. I didn’t spend all that much time in there: nobody did, as far as I knew. The biggest reason some of us stopped in now and then was to get some scholarship information.

My college search involved the following:
1. Considering MTSU and Tennessee Tech because of their foreign language programs (I was going in as a German major).
2. Visiting Tennessee Tech once. Liking it.
3. Enrolling.
4. The end.

I don’t remember it being that big of a deal (the search), because it was cut and dry for me. I adored Tennessee Tech for the two quarters I attended (before I got married and moved to Virginia) and, had I stayed, probably would have ended up finishing my German major and becoming a translator or something.

Fast forward to two years ago. D’s college search was very involved. We had that filing system, of course, and we visited four schools in person, two of them twice. Even though the college websites were readily available, we mostly used the brochures and such that we collected, to ponder on what schools should make the cut. It was a great system, and obviously it worked out for D.

J though, will have the benefit of a really cool website that works in conjunction with his high school’s college and career center (much bigger than the closet-sized room I had!). This website gives him information on everything having to do with finding a school:

~ the site is totally searchable in all different ways
~ he can click directly over to college websites
~ there are calculators (important when figuring out how much you can afford!)
~ he can access up-to-date local scholarship information
~ we can look up college fair information as well as dates on which representatives from colleges and universities are visiting his high school

There are so many other things but I am not finished checking it out! Basically he can do the entire college search–except his in-person visits–sitting on his butt in front of the computer. I was going to make a comment like, “And isn’t that what kids today enjoy, sitting on their butts in front of a computer?” but I won’t, even though I just did, because THIS kind of sitting on his butt in front of the computer is helpful for LIFE and all. It’s pretty thrilling.

Kinda makes me wonder how his eventual children will find their post-secondary schools. Any ideas?



  • Liz

    My oldest is graduating high school this year and we are JUST beginning. Honestly, because of ALL the information that is available at our fingertips, it is very easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. Also, folks who insist that we should have started “the process” the beginning of her junior year…whatev. Thank goodness for those really cool websites that work in conjunction with high school college and career centers 🙂 Great pic of J, btw!!!

  • Heather

    My college search was pretty simple- I knew where I wanted to go (I can’t remember how I found it actually) and I applied & got in. There is so much information available now, it’s pretty cool. I’m with Liz though- I imagine it’s easy to get overwhelmed!

  • Headless Mom

    Which hs did you go to? I know some people from K-town, you know. And since we’re the same age and all…

    Yeah, I went to UT because my mom visited in April of my sr. year and she said the campus was pretty.

    True story. I had never been there until Freshman orientation in Mid-July… AFTER I had committed to going.

  • Tara R.

    I could see more and more online classes being open for college courses. Our grandkids may not even have to leave home to attend college. It will all be virtual learning.