Some students already know what they want to do as a career and exactly which colleges & universities they plan to apply to, but most students have no idea what they want to study, nor do they have a clear plan and process for researching schools. With over 4700 degree-granting colleges and universities in the U.S., finding a school that is a good fit can be a daunting task. This article will provide tips and a clear plan on how to research schools.




Explore career areas that 

interest you or fit your personality


The first step I recommend is to think about what area you potentially want to study in college. If you have a good idea of what you are interested in studying, it will help you narrow down the schools that specialize in that field.


There are websites online that you can use to learn more about your personality and what different jobs other people with similar personalities find enjoyable. BigFuture is a site run by CollegeBoard (the company that administers the SAT test) and they have a section dedicated to help you explore different majors and career options.



You should also discuss potential career options with family members, mentors, friends, and other adults who work in different jobs. See if you can spend a day with a mentor whose job interests you. You may also volunteer or apply for an internship to experience what it’s like to actually work in a specific field.



Make a list of things important to you

 in a College/University


      While overall national ranking is certainly something to consider, it is more important to consider the ranking of the school’s specific program that interests you. For example, if I am sure I want a career in hospitality (managing restaurants and hotels), I may choose a school that specializes in that field and is located in an area that can offer me plenty of internship opportunities for real-life work experience. I may research schools near famous tourist locations that have established partnerships with local restaurants, hotels, and resorts (such as Las Vegas, Miami, or other major American tourist areas).


Here is a list of some things you may want to consider 

when you are researching schools

1) 该学校有你感兴趣的专业吗?他们在你感兴趣的领域有很强大的项目吗?他们是否与当地公司有合作关系,可以提供实习?

1) Does the school offer the major you are interested in? Do they have a strong program in your interested career field? Do they have partnerships with local companies and internship opportunities?

2) 你想去一个大型的,中等的还是小型的学校?学校的规模不等,小的学校学生数量少于2000人,大型学校有超过3万的学生。

2) Do you want to go to a large, medium, or small school? Schools can range in size from under 2000 students to over 30,000 students.

3) 考虑学校的位置——你喜欢在城市(城市),在城市外(郊区),还是在一个更偏僻的地方(农村)?这所学校离国际机场有多远? 一年到头的天气是怎样的?

3) Think about the location of the school – do you like being in the city (urban), right outside the city (suburbs), or in a more isolated location (rural)? How close is the school to an international airport? What is the weather like all year long? 

4) 学校的人口分布统计——你想去一所有中国学生占比较大的学校吗?国际学生的比例是多少? 你想去一个更加多元化的学校吗?

4) Demographics of the school – do you want to go to a school with more Chinese students, or less? What percentage of the student population are international students? Do you want to go to a more diverse school?

5) 学生服务——学校为国际学生提供什么支持服务?学校能给你多少个人关注?教授与学生的比例是多少?

5) Student Services – what support services does the school offer for international students? How much personal attention can the school give you? What is the professor-to-student ratio?

6) 业余活动和社交生活——学校向学生提供哪些学生活动?他们有很多俱乐部或体育运动吗?在校外有好玩的活动和活动吗?校园内外的社会场景怎么样呀?

6) Extracurriculars and Social Life – what student activities and events does the school offer to students? Do they have many clubs or intramural sports? Are there fun activities and things to do outside of the school campus? What is the social scene like on and off campus?

7) 居住环境——目前的情况是,许多学校要求学生至少在前两个学年住在宿舍里。其他学校根本就不提供宿舍,要求你自己找房子

7) What is the Living Situation Like – many schools require students to live on-campus in dorms for at least the first two years. Other schools don’t have dorms at all and require you to find your own housing.

8) 学费考虑——私立学校通常比公立公立学校贵。从一所学校到另一所学校的一般学费(包括学费、住宿费和其他生活费)可以从每年4万美元到8万美元不等。

8) Financial Consideration –private schools are generally more expensive than public state schools. The general tuition (including fees, room & board, and other living expenses) from one school to another can range anywhere from under $40,000/year to over $80,000/year.

9) 学校申请要求——学校是否需要托福或SAT/ACT成绩?如果需要的话,你能达到要求吗?你的高中成绩和考试成绩有资格申请吗?学校是否还需要其他的申请材料,如作品集(申请艺术院校),试镜(音乐或戏剧学校),或需要面对面面试还是在线面试?

9) School Application Requirements – Does the school require a TOEFL or SAT/ACT? If so, can you attain the required scores? Do your high school grades and exam scores qualify you to apply? Does the school require other application materials, such as a portfolio (for art schools), an audition (for music or theater schools), or in-person/online interviews?



Develop list of potential colleges & 

universities you are interested in


      After you’ve considered all the factors above, here are some online resources to help you search for schools. You can input the information you’ve considered above into these college search sites and they will produce a list of schools that may be a good fit. These sites also allow you to compare data between different schools:

1. BigFuture (远大前程)


2. College View (大学视角)


3. College Navigator (大学导航)


4. College Data(大学数据)


      一旦你列出了一份潜在兴趣的学校名单,你就应该去大学的主页了解一下国际本科学生的具体申请要求。我建议你列出大约10所学校的名单。清单应包括3 - 4所申请困难较大的“学校(学校将很难通过你的等级和考试成绩,但你自己想试试), 4 - 5所“目标”学校(学校认可你的学术成绩,你想要加入该学校),和2 - 3所“安全”学校(学校你能胜任和能够收到录取通知书)

      Once you’ve developed a list of potential schools, you should visit the college/university’s homepage to find out the specific application requirements for undergraduate international students. I recommend you come up with a list of approximately 10 schools. Your list should include 3-4 “reach” schools (schools that will be difficult to be accepted to with your grades and exam scores, but you’d like to try), 4-5 “target” schools (schools that fit your academic grades and that you hope to attend), and 2-3 “safety” schools (schools that you are qualified for and should receive an offer).



Refine list of schools with

 additional targeted research


      I always recommend students visit the schools. Although many students prefer to visit schools after they’ve been accepted, participating in the school’s official tour may possibly increase your chance of being accepted. Most colleges and universities keep a record of students that take their campus tours – admission offices consider school visits as a form of “demonstrated interest.” This means that you’ve shown the school you are a serious candidate and may be more likely to attend the school if given an offer.


      If it is not possible to visit the school, many school websites have “virtual tours,” where you can interactively move around campus like you are there. For schools without this feature on their own website, there are other websites dedicated to providing virtual tours of thousands of U.S. colleges and universities – here are two:

1.)校园之旅: https://www.campustours.com/

2.)数字化校园之旅: http://www.ecampustours.com/


Making the final choice of enrolling at a college/university is a major life decision. It is important that you take the time to think about and understand all aspects of the school you ultimately plan on attending. By spending extra time and doing diligent research on the schools you apply to, you will also be able to make a much more informed and confident decision if you find yourself having to choose among multiple university offers.


总部地址:上海市普陀区大渡河路1860号上海体育宫二楼    ICP备案:沪ICP备09059548号-1    免费电话:400-888-6979
©2017 MOREN EDUCATION § Shanghai, China