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Finding the Right College
Austin Farber

College Readiness: How GRA Helps Students Prepare for College

Time flies by so fast; yesterday, he was a boy walking across campus with a stack of books trying to find the correct classroom. Suddenly, that young man is an upperclassman, working hard to get in to his dream college. The process of searching for the right college is challenging for both students and parents. At Grand River Academy, our college placement counselors are always available to help guide students through this long and stressful process. Here are a few of the topics we focus on with our students to them find the right college.

Finding the best fit

To some extent, rankings from institutions like the U.S. News Report, Princeton Review, and Niche provide good feedback for undergraduate programs, but reviews shouldn't be the most important criteria when it comes to choosing a college. Finding the right college is truly a journey of self-discovery and self-advocacy. There are so many different factors that should be taken into consideration: certain sports or clubs of interest, academic programs, student life activities, food, size, location, internship opportunities, and so much more! We walk this seemingly daunting process side-by-side with our students to help them stay on task, focused, and organized. College placement meetings are required for all upperclassmen. These meetings help students understand what they should be looking for in a college.

Getting exposure! The more, the merrier.

Encouraging students to get exposure to different types of colleges is a big part of what we preach to our young men. There are so many different types of schools out there; big state universities, small liberal arts colleges, art institutions, etc. Each type of college has different traits that make them unique. The more students are exposed to different types of schools, the quicker they get a sense of what they are looking for. During the school year, we have many different universities come to campus to meet our students face-to-face. Talking to the school representative on a personal level opens a direct line of communication between students and a college's admissions office. Another way we get our students exposure to different types of colleges is by taking them to college fairs and on college visits.

Embrace the process and learn from the experience

During weekly college placement meetings, we set up a timeline with our students to ensure all documents meet required deadlines for the universities they are applying to. We encourage our students to use Google Spreadsheet on their Chromebook to help them stay on top of their applications. This process teaches students time management skills, how to advocate for themselves, and how to discover their interests. By the end of their time at Grand River Academy, our students are prepared and confident they've found the right college to be successful.

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