Narrowing down your college list. isn't always easy. Most student counselors recommend students to apply to approximately five to eight colleges, because more than that usually doesn’t make sense. If you live in the US you should know that The Education Trust has developed a wonderful and very helpful tool called College Results Online to help students compose a list of colleges to apply to and it also provides a lot of authoritative data in an user-friendly presentation. Visit this site if you want to find out more about the colleges you are interested in. And here are some more helpful tips for narrowing down your college list:
1. Start with a Large Group of Colleges
One of the most important things for narrowing down your college list is to make sure that you start with a large group of colleges that appeal to you. I’m sure you’ll be able to identify 20 or more colleges without a problem. If you only found 2 or 3 colleges that interest you, then search for more based on what you want in a college. Experts say that it’s best to start with 10 or even 20 colleges that you then cut down
2. Make a Shorter List
Once you’ve identified the colleges that interest you, the next step is to narrow down that list. Make sure that the colleges that end up on this new and shorter list are the ones that match what you are looking for. Keep those colleges that meet your most important requirements and eliminate those that fall short.
3. Make Sure That the List is Balanced
You could talk to your high school college counselor and see which category each college on your list fits into; for example: reach (which means that you have less than 30% chance of admission), target (30-60% chance of admission) and safety (greater than 60% chance of admission). Most experts say that you should apply to 3-4 reach schools, 3-5 target schools and 1-2 safety schools.
4. Write down the Pros and Cons of Each School
Do some research and find out more about each college on your list, for example the classes you’d take, the professors you’d meet, extracurricular activities, community service, and study abroad or internship opportunities. Then simply verbalize and write down the pros and cons of each school.
5. Take the Names of the Colleges out of Your Discussion
Get beyond the colleges’ names and get more into their experiences. Cover up the names of the schools you’ve picked and discuss resources, student population, professors, activities, surrounding community or anything else that interests you about a college.
6. Consider the Location of the College
Even though it may not seem so important at first, you should also consider the location of those colleges on your list and the cost of traveling to and from home. Just think about location and community and try to see where you’ll fit in - an urban area or a rural one?
7. Don’t Be Bowled over by the Tuition!
Even though this aspect is pretty important, don’t let the tuition costs shape your choices because many schools offer grants and scholarships.
If you’ve been searching for colleges for a while and a lot of schools sound very interesting, then you need to refine that list and see which ones deserve your time and attention. Do you know any other helpful tips for narrowing down a college list? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!