Halloween has come and gone – and with it, trick-or-treating. Meanwhile, your college search is becoming more weighty and hectic. In many ways, your search for the perfect school is like your search for sweet candy.

If you’re like me, or if you were like me when you were 8 years old, you can understand trick-or-treating.

You stop at many houses, most of them offer snack-sized candy bars – some offer fruit. Some offer juice that ends up leaking all over your bag. And one or two give out king-size candy bars. Often, you trek many blocks just to find that three-ounce wad of chocolaty delight.

The journey may be tiring; stopping at every house may get redundant. Carrying so much candy may seem pointless. But when you get home and watch your favorite horror film while enjoying your most prized treat of the night, it all seems worth it.

You’ll visit and analyze many schools. There are many criteria you will consider. Some schools will be okay; some may be really bad and make your whole college search seem like a waste of time. But one or two will be perfect. Your college search may be strenuous and time-consuming. Touring and learning about what seems like an infinite number of campuses may become redundant. All the fliers that flood your mailbox may seem pointless. But, in the spring, when you’ve found the school you want to attend, you’ll realize that the hard work you put into your college search was worth it.

Your college search will be full of mixed feelings; fun, tiresome, “blah.” But you know it’s necessary if you want to find the best school for you. My advice: do everything you can do to find the school of your dreams. When you’re finally at college, you’ll be glad you didn’t take any shortcuts.