College Plan Timeline:


If you don’t know where to start your search, begin at the state level. As a resident, you’ll be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities, which can save you a bundle of money. You should find plenty of results.

Meet with your counselor to develop more accurate criteria for your college search.

It’s time to get reacquainted with what types of colleges you’re interested in. Do you want to attend a community college or four-year university? Private college or state-run institution? Large or small, close or far?

Once you’ve pegged your college type, it’s time to exercise your brain with a hypothetical college search. Base your college search on what you know so far about your college preferences. If you know you want to go to a small, private, four-year college in Montana, use those criteria. But if you only know you want to major in graphic design, use that singular search criterion.

Some sample college searches:

Surprised by the results? More colleges than you thought there’d be?

Lots of people know a few schools’ names but only a few people know a lot of schools by name. Write down the ones that look interesting, but don’t limit yourself too much at this point. Your college search still has just begun.

Planning ahead or a little behind?
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Related Tools and Checklists

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High School Senior Timeline and Checklist

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