College search: finding your best school
Before you choose: Compare scoresCompare your academic scores, like GPA and SAT/ACT score to the median scores of the schools you are considering. "You don't necessarily want to be the best student and you don't necessarily want to be the last student," says Tom Weede, vice president of enrollment management at Butler University in Indianapolis.
Students whose academics tower above the rest may become academically bored. Those who barely squeaked in may find themselves struggling to keep up. "You need to have an honest conversation with yourself on how you learn and how academically prepared you are," says Weede.
Academic boredom also happens even with a good academic fit, says Wes Habley, ACT's principal associate. "(Students) look at the first year curriculum and say, this is nothing but a repeat," he says. To avoid curriculum frustration, request a course catalog to see if there are classes that will interest you throughout your college career.
Recap: The problems
School selectivity issues
-- An ACT survey shows 72 percent of students in "highly selective" schools -- those with the majority of freshmen in the top 10 percent of their high school class -- graduated within four years, as compared with 49 percent at "selective" schools; 31 percent at "traditional" schools and only 30 percent at "open enrollment" schools.
Solution: What to consider before you choose »