Educator Toolbox

TXGU Activity: Researching Colleges


Created By:
 Texas GEAR UP

Grade Level: 7th/8th

Introduction for Educators: Your TXGU students are discovering who they are. These early decisions will help shape the people they become. In order to make great decisions, they need to know more about how the world works and the opportunities that lie ahead of them.

Although college may seem like it’s years away, it’s never too early to help students understand their options. By introducing your students to resources for researching colleges now, you’re giving them tools they need to succeed in school and life. 

Introduction for Students: What do you think of when you think of an apple? They’re red, round, and delicious. What else is there to know?

Only some apples are red. Some are green. Others have a yellowish color. Many are in between. Some apples are just sweet. Some are tart. Some are good to pack in a lunch. Some are good for pies. Some are good for applesauce.

Some are available all year. Some are only available in September.

Who knew apples had so many categories? And if you think apples have a lot of categories, imagine how many categories you deal with when choosing a college! It may seem like it’s far off, but now is the time to get started. 

The Activity: There are 3,944 different colleges in the United States! How do you choose where to go? You start by researching schools. As you learn about them, you’ll see some things you like, and some things you don’t like.

The following exercise will help you discover different tools for learning about colleges.

Step 1) Visit this website (plus more like it, ideally):

Step 2) Make a list of different categories the site uses to organize the schools. Some might include location, cost, or size. You should be able to list at least five different categories.

Step 3) Reflect on what you’ve learned. Did you know how challenging it would be to choose a college? Which category is most significant to you?

Step 4) Share what you've learned with a parent, teacher, or friend.