Steps to Launch Your Journey to College - COLLEGEdata - Explore Colleges
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the college from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the scholarship from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your College List.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed SAT or ACT scores from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed application details from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed activities and awards from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed your weighted GPA from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to complete your Admissions Profile.

Steps to Launch Your Journey to College

There are well over 2,000 four-year U.S. colleges. No wonder starting down the path to college can feel intimidating. Try beginning with these simple steps.

College, college, college... You might be feeling that's all anyone talks about. Or maybe you wish someone would just tell you what to do next. Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to your college future.

1. Think about why you are going to college.

Do you have a passion to study a certain field? Or a passion to figure out your passion? Either way, assess what positive goals are motivating you to attend college. If you're feeling unsure, talk with your parents and counselor about what might be holding you back. Our article Why Go to College? may also help.

2. Get advice from your counselor.

Ask your counselor about the classes you should be taking to become a strong college candidate. Discuss the tests you should take, such as the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. Also, your counselor likely knows a great deal about colleges in your area and can recommend a few to visit.

3. Talk with your parents.

Just as you have dreams of college, your parents probably have dreams too. Find out what they think might be ideal for you. Discuss how college expenses are going to be paid and what costs you and your family can afford to pay out of pocket.

4. Talk with some college students.

You and your friends might have siblings and friends in college. If you have a chance, talk to them. Ask why they chose their college and what they like and don't like. The answers might lead you to think about college in a whole new way.

5. Find out what colleges are like.

Pick five or so colleges and explore their information online. Visit their websites and look them up using College Match. Attend college fairs and college presentations at your school. Take the PSAT and you'll have lots of beautiful college brochures to explore.

6. Visit some campuses within a few hours of home.

Visit a variety of colleges—big vs. small, public vs. private, rah-rah vs. quiet, etc. Talk to students and sit in on a class. This will give you an idea of what you like and don't like about real colleges.

7. Learn about financial aid.

All colleges offer financial aid to help cover college expenses. Find out how to apply for aid and what kinds of aid actually reduce your cost.

8. Hang in there.

You are likely to feel overwhelmed occasionally. Turn to people who support you and ask for help when you need it. Rest assured that if you prepare wisely, your college years are going to be just fine.

9. Let things evolve.

Your first college list is a starting point. Chances are, your opinions will change as you find out more and your final list may be very different.

What's Next?

  • Create your Admissions Tracker Profile to keep track of colleges that interest you—and to see stats of students who are applying and were admitted. You can add and remove colleges as much as you want.
  • Use College Match to find colleges based on your preferences. If you use the College Chances and Net Price tools, each college you search for will show your chances of admission and your potential Net Price!
For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

cd$ My Data Locker

You must be logged in to view your Data Locker Dashboard

Log in to see all of your saved colleges, scholarships, articles, profiles and searches in one place. Access your Dashboard from any page.

COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
×
Congratulations!
+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.