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College List Building

I would like to take a moment to focus on the college list. My seniors have taken their surveys and assessments, explored college majors and colleges that fit their personality, behavior profile and interests. They have taken their ACT and SAT and hopefully they are prepping to give those one more try! They have visited college campuses in person, as well as via virtual tours. It is a stressful time as they work on those college applications and essays. It can be fun and exciting, yet stressful, when deciding on what colleges should make their final list. Thinking big is great and lots of students, as well as their parents, have their eye on those top tier dream schools. But when considering colleges that make the final cut, students should make sure their bases are covered and they have a well rounded, good fit list. Take an honest look at the student you are. Do you fit the college academically? Socially? Don't just look at your GPA, take into consideration the rigor of the classes you have taken over the last four years as well as those extra curricular activities. What is the acceptance rate of the school? Even if you do fit the college profile of the hardest to get into of schools, colleges with low acceptance rates have many applications that probably look similar to yours. I am not saying don't throw your hat in the ring to try for the competitive dream schools, but your list should not be composed of all reach schools. Try to focus mainly on those schools that you find your scores and grades in the middle of the pack. It is also a good idea to have a couple of schools that your grades and scores are at the top of the pack. Most importantly, take a serious look at those "safety" schools as much as the other schools on your list. Can you envision yourself on their campus? Try to make sure every school on your college list feels right to you, in case your dream, reach or top tier school is not where you find yourself. Lastly, try not to get caught up in ranking and prestige and how it looks to your classmates and parents' friends. There are a lot of schools where students can get a top notch education. As a matter of fact, the most important thing to keep in mind is that a student is more apt to thrive where they are comfortable, fit into the college culture and the teaching style matches their particular learning style. Remember it is best to keep your list between 6-10 schools. Lastly, as stressful as it is, try to actually enjoy the process. It can be fun and exciting as well.

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