Building Your College List
Developing a college list can be stressful. There are so many factors to consider: where, cost, big or small, distance, etc. Here are some tips to developing the college list:
- Take inventory of where you would want to live. Ask yourself do you want to live close to home or further away? If you don’t mind the distance do you want to be within driving distance or far enough away where you’d have to be on a plane? Do you want to live in a college town or a city that has more happening than just the college?
- Use websites such as College Board and College Scorecard to help narrow your search. You can filter your search by college program, location, size, cost, and much more. College Scorecard also provides the most recent data on graduation and retention rates for colleges. Keep in mind the average graduation rate for a 4 and 6 year period is 59% nationwide.
- Attend your high school college presentations. Talk to your school counselor about any upcoming visits from colleges. Don’t forget to go with questions!
- Visit, visit and visit! Go on as many college tours as possible. If you can’t visit then definitely plan a virtual tour on Nacho or the on the college website.
- Assess what you want the college to have and/or be like. Do you want a small or big college? Do you want small classroom sizes or will 3oo people in a stadium-like classroom be OK for your learning style? Do you want a college that has most of their students live on campus or off campus? Are you interested in their honors program? or study abroad? or the clubs offered? Look deep into what the college has to offer YOU.
- Look at a college’s “freshman profile” to see what the average admission statistics are (ie: Average ACT/SAT, GPA, etc). Make sure you have at least 4 or 5 colleges on your list that you know for sure you’ll be admitted to (your scores fall in line with the freshman profile). This way you have a choice of where you want to go in December or January. As a result, instead of you being the candidate for college you can now be the decision maker and the college is now the candidate. Let the wizard choose the wand for my H.P. peeps!
Once you’ve developed your college list use this Application Check List to help you keep track of all the documents you need for each college and to prioritize based on the application deadline.