Narrowing your college list



Having a tough time deciding what colleges to apply to? It’s a common issue. In fact, the average student applies to more than five schools. Here are some helpful hints on narrowing down your choices:

1. Prioritize. You may have liked lots of things about each school but what are the most important factors to you? For example, having small class sizes and personal attention might be a lot more important to you in the end than having a drama club on campus.

2. Think about your chances of success. Think hard about your strengths and weaknesses as a student and what resources you think you’ll need to do well. If you have trouble with highly competitive environments, consider eliminating schools that have that academic environment from your list. Be sure the school has the type of support system in place, from tutoring to peer counseling, that you may need.

3. Look beyond the sticker price. The advertised tuition cost is important, but be sure to talk with the financial aid office about what scholarships and other financial aid may be available to help defray those costs. Some may be substantial.

4. Get to know the professors. Consider sitting in on a class or watching online lectures by professors in the degree program you’re interested in.

5. Get outside opinions. Chat online with current students at the college to hear about their opinions, and check out online reviews. You can also look to books like the Fiske Guide to College to learn more.

Need help narrowing down your college list? Get free access to to live chat with admissions counselors and students at the colleges you’re most interested in.