10 Approach Lights to the College Search

Updated: May 11, 2021

Amber Lights Educational Consulting is here to guide you in landing a college list that makes the most sense for you. As you begin the process, think about the following 10 guiding lights.



  1. Start early. Most students begin to put a college list together 2-3 years before their high school graduation date.

  2. Talk with your family about what they will be able to contribute towards your college costs.

  3. Consider possible areas of study, majors, and educational pathways you might be interested including Community College to 4-Year College, Pre-Med, Pre-Law, Pre-Vet or other pre-professional advising, Intensive English programs, etc.

  4. Take some interest inventories such as the Career Interest Profiler to help you understand how your interests match up with the world of work.

  5. Consider college location, size, and student life to help you filter out those schools that will not match your preferences. Then use a college list making tools like those found on the College Board or College Confidential.

  6. Examine the admission selectivity to analyze how your profile fits the college acceptance probability.

  7. Prepare for tests such as SAT, ACT, TOEFL, and other types of aptitude tests that may affect college admission, academic placement, and/or scholarship eligibility.

  8. Review essay requirements for different colleges and brainstorm various topics for your personal statement.

  9. Engage in classroom discussions and activities, practice strong study skills, take challenging classes, and do your best in your classes to keep your grades strong throughout your high school experience.

  10. Participate in school activities such as athletics, honors programs, clubs, academic competitions, and student government and begin to create a resume of activities to keep track of all that you've done during your high school years.

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