Finding the right college is a process of discovering what will make you happy and successful on a college campus. School size, location, and programs of study are important, but so are the meaning, accomplishment, relationships, and vitality (MARV) you gain from the experience. There’s a lot to consider during this process, but if you remember to find MARV, we know you’ll make the right decision.

Search schools – Ask yourself questions as you search and identify the schools you plan to visit:
  • Will I be at home on a big campus in a small town or a small campus in a big city?
  • Do I want to stay close to my hometown or am I ready to move away from it?
  • Do I prefer a bustling metropolis with sports, food, arts, and culture or a quiet, rural space focused on sustainable living and outdoor activities?
My schools – Review the schools you’ve added, while seeing how others have rated them.

Plan a visit – Narrow down a list of schools you can see yourself attending but need to visit, noting which ones offer the most interesting majors, involved faculty, or unique on-campus activities. Pick the best date to visit and see what good eats they have nearby - touring a campus can really work up an appetite! Then share with your parents and school counselors how ready you are to start this journey.

Rate, compare & assess – Real talk in real time: During or after your visits, you will rate the schools according to four categories by clicking, sliding, and jotting down your notes. This will help you remember how you actually felt while on campus. You can compare your ratings with national averages and see how your favorites stack up, but remember this is your college choice. It’s personal.

My Dashboard – How’s it looking? This is a report card of your schools, not your schools’ report card of you. Your ratings and top ranked schools, comments, and upcoming visits are all organized in one place – so, how’s it looking? What’s missing?


We think, ultimately, you want your child to be happy and to thrive in college, not drudgingly get through each day. There is a lot of pressure on a parent in the college search, to guide and affirm a student’s decision. Your assistance in planning and attending a campus visit is invaluable – it is one step in the search that can make all the difference. We hope you use this resource to prompt meaningful conversations with your child before, during, and after the selection process.

Search schools – You can search schools based on a variety of criteria. In order to assist your child in narrowing down the options, generate a few leading questions to ask him or her. Here are a few, for starters:
  • Will she be more comfortable in a rural or city setting?
  • Is he looking for a social, academic, or athletic culture?
  • Does she need more one-on-one time with her professors?
  • How will he be challenged at this school?
My schools – Consider this your personal file of potential schools, where you might keep a running tab of your child’s comments and note your thoughts for further inquiry with the school. You may also sit down as a family and identify the schools you plan on visiting, reading and posting public comments, uploading pictures, viewing upcoming events and other’s ratings of each school.

Plan a visit – Road trip! More than likely you'll be the ones driving, arranging hotel accommodations (although this information is included on the My Schools page, so your child could always take care of it!), and in some cases purchasing and organizing airfare. The plan a visit page shows you how to get there and where to eat and sleep. You might even surprise your son by taking him to his favorite burrito joint – only .4 mile from campus!

Rate and compare – You know your child better than anyone else, so you, too, will track whether the school felt like a good fit. Rate, compare, and assess schools after your visits to further and deepen your discussions. As a reminder, your student should feel like he or he will find meaning, accomplishment, relationships, and vitality (MARV) on campus.

Your report card – If a school can say yay or nay to your child, certainly your child can say yay or nay to a school. Of course! But when it’s time for a tiebreaker, guess who’s up? Here you can reference all of the information gathered along the way, so you have an informed opinion ready for your child. This is especially useful as the May 1st national deadline for college enrollment approaches.

High School Counselors

You are busy people! We hope to make the college search a little easier and a lot more fun for you and your students.

Here’s how:

Search schools – Have you ever had a student share specific campus activities, student-to-teacher ratios, and residential features necessary for a happy college experience…upon first meeting? If so, we imagine it must have been a highlight of that week! We believe we can increase the number of prepared students by allowing them to search school criteria based solely on their unique college fit. Fit being a place where a student finds meaning, accomplishment, relationships, and vitality (MARV) and, therefore, flourishes in his or her experience.

Although we know you have plenty to choose from, some of our suggested visit questions include:
  • Do campus activities or academics matter more to me?
  • What support network is offered at this school?
  • How often will I work with a T.A. instead of a professor? Does this matter to me?
  • What is the personality or culture of this school?
My schools – A place for your student to add favorites and review them. If a student enters a college counseling meeting as a junior without a list of schools, you can help her determine what criteria is important to finding happiness and success on a college campus.

Plan a visit – Visiting a college simplified. You can assist your student and his family in searching and organizing the details of a campus visit.

Rate and compare – No more pros and cons lists! Your students can track those “gut feelings” you’ve told them about, as they are happening. After a student has finished his or her campus visits, you will have a more detailed catalogue of impressions to draw from. You may also create your own account and visit some schools to better illustrate what type of impressions are the most productive.

My Dashboard – Everyone who has an account will have their own dashboard, providing a high-level view of what’s going on at their schools of interest. As a high school counselor, you can add your students’ favorites to your own list of favorites. You’ll have heightened awareness for what’s going on at campuses across the United States, giving you an opportunity to stay “in the loop” with your students and their interests.