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Choosing the right college is a crucial decision in every student’s life. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to navigate the application process and stand out among thousands of other applicants. One underrated but essential part of the process is conducting deep school research. This research not only helps you make an informed decision about your college choices but also plays a vital role in crafting compelling application essays and showcasing your genuine interest in the institution. In this blog post, we will guide you through a step-by-step process to conduct effective school research and impress top colleges.

Step 1: Start with the Basics

When beginning your research, it’s important to explore the college’s official website. Navigate to the homepage and focus on three key sections: academics, research, and campus life. These sections provide valuable insights into the college’s offerings and help you understand if it aligns with your interests and goals.

Step 2: Explore Academics

Within the academics section of a university website, look for an “Explore Majors” page or a similar resource. Here, you can find detailed information about different majors and departments. If you have a specific area of interest, such as biology, delve deeper into the department’s webpage. Take note of the various specializations and concentrations available within the major. This information can help you narrow down your focus and develop a more specific academic angle.

Step 3: Dive into Course Offerings

To gain a deeper understanding of the curriculum, explore the list of courses offered by the department. Look for courses that align with your interests and goals. Get excited about the possibilities and explore different subjects within your chosen major. This exploration not only helps you make informed decisions but also demonstrates your enthusiasm and genuine interest in the field.

Step 4: Discover Faculty and Research Opportunities

Faculty members play a pivotal role in shaping your college experience. Explore the department’s faculty page to familiarize yourself with the professors and their areas of expertise. Take note of any research opportunities or labs that align with your interests. Research experience is highly valued by top colleges, so it’s essential to showcase your eagerness to engage in meaningful research within your field.

Step 5: Explore Extracurricular Opportunities

Beyond academics, colleges offer a range of extracurricular activities and clubs. These opportunities can enrich your college experience and provide avenues for personal and professional growth. Visit the campus life section of the college website to discover the diverse clubs, organizations, and service opportunities available. Take note of clubs or groups related to your specific interests, such as dance, entrepreneurship, or community service.

Step 6: Craft Your Essays

Armed with in-depth knowledge about the college, you can now tackle the application essays with confidence. Many colleges ask “Why” essays, where you need to explain why you are a good fit for the institution. These essays require more than generic answers. Utilize your research to demonstrate your understanding of the college’s unique offerings, such as specific courses, professors, or research opportunities. Showcase your passion and how the college can help you achieve your academic and personal goals.

Step 7: Tailor Your Application

Your application should reflect the depth of your research and alignment with the college’s values and culture. Highlight the specific programs, courses, or extracurricular activities that resonate with your interests and aspirations. Tailor your application to show why you are a perfect fit for the college and how you can contribute to its community.


Conducting deep school research is a crucial step in securing an edge in the college application process. It enables you to make informed decisions, demonstrate your genuine interest in the college, and craft compelling essays and applications. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you will be well-equipped to impress top colleges with your knowledge and enthusiasm. Remember, the effort you invest in researching colleges today will pay off in the end with increased admissions success.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the college planning process? Don’t worry, we’re here to help! At Blue Stars, our skilled college counselors are excited to guide teens and their parents through every step of the journey. From conducting deep school research to crafting compelling essays, we’ll ensure that you and your child navigate the process in a careful and strategic way. Our personalized approach leads to results that you might not have imagined when starting the process.

Contact Blue Stars today and embark on an exciting college planning journey with us!

About the Author: Amy Morgenstern

Dr. Amy Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, is the founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice.

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