Step 3 - Start researching

Step 3 is active research, creation of comprehensive college lists, professional presentation, standardized test planning, and constant expansion of options. It sets up informed decisions later when narrowing down choices.

1. Counselor Meetings - Meet with your school's university guidance counsellor. You should discuss lots of stuff. Including; your goals and aspirations, what options you are considering, how and what to consider when planning, building your university/college list, handling applications, etc. The guidance from the counsellor is invaluable.

2. Create your Long List - Draft up a comprehensive list of potential colleges based on your profile. Your profile should include; your current and realistic academic grades, programs and degrees you are interested in, locations where you would like to study. Maybe include your culture and its importance to you, the size of university (big versus small), how much will it cost, etc. No need to be very specific at this early stage. Cast a wide net and see what comes back.

3. Research Long List - Thoroughly research each university on your long list. Pay particular attention to academic entry requirements, extracurriculars that might be helpful or that you might like to be involved in. What is their campus life and what are the published outcomes for graduate students. Other stuff to research are the; culture, admission rates, etc. The list can be long. But better find out at this stage, rather than later.

4. Standardized Testing Plan - Map out a plan and timeline for any standardized testing including SATs, ACTs, and subject tests. Register for and take initial tests. BUT, if you do not need it, ask yourself, why should you do it.

5. Add to Long List - Continue exploring and adding additional universities to your long list based on your additional research and your priorities. Your list should continually evolve at this stage.

6. Social Media Clean-up - Review and clean-up your social media accounts, removing any unprofessional, unwanted or other content that you do not want a university to see. Create professional looking profiles. Increasingly, universities are looking at these. What does your social media say about you.

7. Update CV - Expand CV with new accomplishments, awards, activities, volunteer work, skills, etc. Your CV should reflect the growth that is happening to you.