To our juniors: We know it’s been a long year already — but it’s time to start thinking seriously about your college list. Ideally, you’ll want to work on college applications over the summer.
Still undecided and need some inspiration? It can help to watch TikTok videos. Talk to your parents and counselors first. Then feel free to do some swiping.
Why? College decisions aren’t as straightforward as we might think.
You may be thinking, what major should I go for? Will my grades or test scores get me into that college?
But there are other important things to consider too. Where do you want to be — close to home or far away? What vibe are you looking for? What colleges can your family afford? What should you be planning for?
Start with these TikTok creators to make your search more fun. Then find your own.
How to Hunt Down Affordable Schools on TikTok
Pro tip: The videos will start playing as you scroll over. Mouse over the video. Click the [UNMUTE] button on the bottom of the video to watch. Click [MUTE] to move on. Ignore TikTok’s [WATCH NOW] button.
What’s important to you?
Are you a city kid or a small-town person? Looking for small classes or a big school with lots of opportunities? What is the social vibe? Think about what’s important to you. A school may offer the classes you want, but will you actually like being there? College admissions coach Alexis White runs you through the big questions to ask yourself. Think about location, size, academics, social life, and special programs.
Curious about campus life?
It’s hard to get a full sense of college life until you get there. The college comparison website Niche.com employs an army of students in Niche-wear showcasing schools and offering up admissions tips. From this interviewer, we learn what kind of college essays got these students into New York University.
Mixed up about majors?
Look for school sites like @uvadeanj
Are you an artist and a math wiz? A history lover who wants to try nursing? Many schools have a first-year curriculum that allows you to explore your career options before declaring a major. Look at the colleges on your list and see if they have a TikTok or Instagram channel. (And don’t forget to check the university’s website as well. It will list the classes you’ll need to take.) Example: University of Virginia’s DeanJ offers up lots of details on UVA’s approach in a shocking 35 seconds.
Considering in-state vs. out-of-state?
Looking at state schools to save money? Sticking with your local state schools can save you tens of thousands of dollars. But you may be interested in other schools for their programs. It’s good to take the long view on this. Choosing your in-state school can leave you with more money for grad school or just starting your life after graduation. (Also look for in-state grants and agreements between states that will match your state tuition.) We like Tanu Tripathi’s smart TikTok channel and her thoughts weighing the pros and cons of in-state schools.
What about everything else?
Looking for all kinds of information, from financial aid advice to weird college traditions? The financial services company Mos.com offers a fun and frenetic channel with a mix of serious advice, commentary, crazy college stories — and, yes, lots of advertising for Mos.com. The energy of the two creators and the sheer variety of topics make this channel worth watching. Who wouldn’t want to take 26 seconds to learn about a dorm room bat invasion?
Finding Affordable Colleges on TikTok
To find schools that are affordable, you’ll need to cast a wide net. Follow these strategies to get the most from your research on TikTok.
Try hashtags related to affordable colleges, such as #financialaid, #scholarships, or #affordablecolleges.
Follow college accounts
Many colleges have official TikTok accounts that post videos about scholarships, financial aid, and other forms of financial assistance. Follow them to stay up to date and get a good sense of what financial assistance is available.
Search for college-related content
Try searching for videos that cover topics related to college finances, such as how to save money on college, or tips for paying for college. This can help you identify colleges that may be more affordable.
Do independent research
While TikTok can be helpful, it’s important to do independent research. Reach out to adults you trust and make good use of college websites. Be sure to double-check anything that sounds too good to be true.