STUDENT BLOG: 5 things every high schooler should know about the college search process

Confused by the college search process? Don't be! Here are a few tips to get you started, from a student who's been there.

1. Start the college search early.

Don't procrastinate! It’s best to start your college search ASAP — even during your junior year, or possibly earlier — so that you’ll have plenty of time to request information, talk to admissions representatives, schedule visits and more.

2. Get to know your high school guidance counselor.

After helping student after student apply to colleges year after year, your school's guidance counselor is probably more familiar with the college application process than anyone on the planet. Ask your guidance counselor which colleges and universities best line up with your career goals, and when representatives from those institutions will be visiting your high school.

3. Get to know your university admissions representatives.

College and university admissions representatives are well versed on the ins-and-outs of the application process of their specific school. They'll tell you the usual steps you need to follow in order to apply, as well as answer any questions about the school that you may have. They can also set up visits, arrange scholarship interviews and more. Save them into your phone contacts, as they will be an invaluable resource. To “meet” the Briar Cliff admissions representatives, go to

4. File your FAFSA.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid — a federal form that pretty much every high school student in the country must complete to determine how much federal aid (loans, grants, and scholarships) you qualify for. After filing your FAFSA, you (and colleges that you request on the form — BCU's FAFSA code is 001846) will receive a Student Aid Report, detailing how much aid you can receive.

5. Reach out to financial aid offices.

 A meeting with the school’s financial aid office can help you get a rough estimate of your tuition after financial assistance. Financial aid officers can also advise on scholarships, work study opportunities and other ways to help you afford college. Confused or worried about cost? Don't worry, the Office of Financial Aid at BCU is here to help.

Want to know more?

Visit Briar Cliff's campus on April 21 for our Spring Preview Visit Day, and experience firsthand what university life is like on The Cliff!


Jamie Jacobsen

Jamie Jacobsen is a junior English major from Treynor, Iowa. She is also an Academic Peer Mentor (APM) at Briar Cliff, which means she helps other students find ways to succeed in college. If you can’t find her on campus, search the trails around BCU — where she’ll be logging miles to stay in shape for Charger track and cross country.


Tags: Student Blog, Admissions, Financial Aid, High School Students