Most of us probably know the names of about 10 US universities or colleges, but there are over 4ooo out there and the idea of wading through all of them is pretty daunting. Many of these institutions will not be suitable for you, but there are probably quite a few you've never heard of that will appeal to you for a variety of different reasons. Thankfully there are a number of free online tools that will help you search based on a whole raft of criteria that might be important to you, be they academic, geographic, social or other.
These searches will also ask you to enter your SAT or ACT results as a filter, but bear in mind that each institution has a range - so don't be put off if your scores filter out your dream college. Also, if you haven't yet taken the tests try putting in a few different scores and see what happens.
How do I find out more?
Although there are elements of the admissions process that can be a little opaque, US universities and colleges like to be as transparent as possible about what they want - so visit their websites and explore. You will be able to find 'what we are looking for in a student', course content, clubs and social or sporting activities that might be of interest to you on each site.
You should also find out what it is really like to be a student at these universities - https://www.unigo.com/ is a great resource which has well over half a million reviews of colleges and universities from current students and recent graduates.
Why not try to get a sense of the academic experience at university - you can find numerous courses to explore here http://academicearth.org/ which will also look good on your CV if you complete them!
Finally, once you've narrowed down your search a bit, I really recommend visiting some US universities if you can. Getting a sense of the environment and seeing the facilities can be eye opening. Many of our students had their opinions completely changed when they visited campus, and having been to many myself I know which colleges (it's always colleges for me - I like smaller, more personal communities) have the atmosphere and environment in which I feel I could thrive. Unfortunately, the place I love more than any other http://www.wellesley.edu/ would bar me due to my gender.
As Dubai College is an outstanding and highly academically selective school, our students should be seeking admittance to the best universities in the world - so an obvious way to start your search might be to look at the top end of the world university rankings.
But which rankings to use? Here are three world university rankings that shuffle a whole bunch of universities:
But which one is correct? What are their criteria? Are we looking at student satisfaction, employability of graduates, number of patents registered, quality of teaching or percentage of faculty who are Nobel Laureates? The variability of polls makes it absolutely essential that you develop your own set of values about your educational needs and wants, and that you personalise your search as much as possible. This is actually quite hard to do alone, so talk to your parents and friends, think about the things you want out of life and then come and see me for a chat!
You might also find it useful to know how many students who get into elite universities actually stay there until they graduate - you can find this and other information about student demographics here: http://collegeresults.org/