Insights & Expertise

Successfully Navigating the College Search and Application Process: Tips from Saint Joseph’s Admission Team

by Karen Pellegrino

College students with masks in a classroom.
Keys to the Article
  • Though the college search and application process has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective students and their families can find the right-fit college by adopting new strategies.
  • Developing a process that will get your college search off to a successful start begins with asking yourself important questions about what you want in a college.
  • Three additional considerations will help you identify the best choice of college or university: your visit, the role of test scores and the cost/value equation.

COVID-19 has changed the college search process for prospective students. While there are certainly challenges to finding your home-away-from-home amid a pandemic, you can successfully navigate the college search and admission process with these tips from Saint Joseph’s admission team.


Begin by Asking Questions.

Students often begin the college search by identifying a few schools they think would be great matches for them and then try to figure out how to fit themselves into what those schools want. With over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States, it makes sense for students to first think about what they want in a college, and then find schools that match their interests. 

A successful college search starts with students asking themselves some questions about what is important to them in a college education. For example:

  • What do you want to study?
  • What is the ideal size school?
  • What kind of environment would be best for you: urban, suburban, rural?
  • How far from home do you want to travel for college? 


Schedule a Personal Visit.

Virtual visits can help students explore a variety of different schools, but nothing can replace the value of a campus visit. Although many schools are not currently offering on-campus visits, those that do, like Saint Joseph’s, offer students another unique opportunity. Visits at this time may be more personal, with prospective students and parents having access to the full attention of their tour guide. 

Learn more about all of the ways you can explore Saint Joseph’s University.


What About Test Scores?

Our admission team understands that the pandemic has significantly changed the usual high school experience for many students. One of the major changes has been the cancellation of multiple administrations of standardized tests, which has prompted many schools to adopt test-optional admission policies for this academic year and possibly into the future.

Nearly 1,000 schools around the country, however, have been test-optional for many years. These institutions believe that standardized tests are only one among many important factors to consider when evaluating a student’s application. Since 2014, Saint Joseph's has been among these schools that believe in a holistic application review process. We have always prioritized a student's performance in the classroom and their personal qualities over a single test score.


Invest with Value in Mind.

A college education represents an investment in a student’s future. While the cost may seem daunting, students should carefully consider what will be the return on that investment. This includes things like the availability of a range of different academic programs and the ability to combine majors and minors, the first-to-second-year retention rate, the graduation rate and the percentage of students who find a job upon graduation.

Public institutions are not automatically the most inexpensive option for an education. Private colleges and universities often offer generous financial aid awards. Students and parents should carefully consider the availability of financial aid, both need-based and merit aid, and should pay attention to the process of applying for aid, including what forms are required and what the deadlines are.


Are you curious to learn more about Saint Joseph’s University, our admission process, financial aid and success stories of our graduates? Please visit for more information.