Sunday, September 20, 2009

Narrowing Your List of Colleges

One of the challenges many seniors will face this month is finalizing a list of schools to which to apply. With so many great options, narrowing down the list to a manageable size can seem like a daunting task. Here are a few suggestions for deciding which colleges will receive your application package:

  • Think of your college list as a stock portfolio. Diversify your holdings by applying to programs that vary in their selectivity. Be sure your list includes some long shots, some targets, and some “safety” schools.
  • Apply only to schools where you can imagine yourself being happy and getting a good education. Even your “safety” schools should be ones you would be excited to attend. They should be “safeties” only in the sense that they admit a large percentage of applicants and/or your basic stats are above average for their student body.
  • If you are unsure about whether a school is right for you, try to visit in person or at least correspond with some students and faculty online.
  • Be a critical consumer of college media! Remember that promotional media are designed to entice and recruit you. Look beyond the advertising, and investigate what is actually available to you at each school in terms of majors, courses, faculty advising, teams, organizations, labs, studios, internships, etc.

For more assistance and suggestions regarding this critical step in the college admissions process, please visit, and feel free to contact me.

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