Effective Way to Narrow Down College Choices
As the deadline creeps closer for our college folders to be turned in, I realize just how ahead of many of my classmates I am. When I started my whole college search process, it was an absolute mess. I felt overwhelmed because of just how many schools I had to choose from and all the different factors that could play into my choice.
I myself have decided to apply to 10 colleges. I have read in multiple sources that 8 is a good number of colleges to plan on applying to, while anymore than 10 is a little much. How many colleges a students decides on applying to depends heavily on just how much time the student has to devote to applying to each school. And if you realize you don’t have time to apply to a lot of schools then don’t apply to a large amount of schools. All of my colleges are small liberal arts schools, and while most are in the Midwest, I have a few that are located along the east coast. Looking back though, I have realized that keeping myself organized really helped me narrow my list down.
One of the biggest helps was Collegeboard.com. This website, after creating a free online account with them, allows you to search through profiles of colleges online and allows you to build a list of schools that you could see yourself applying to. After making such a list with them, their site then will allow you to compare schools and look at different numbers and facts about each school, which really helped to see most of the numbers I wanted to see. When it came to student opinions on the school though, I relied on my book “The Best 366 Colleges” by Princeton Review. This book not only lets you see the numbers like the websites, but it also gives you insight into the student life, campus activities, and application due dates. The book even gives student quotes and explanations, which is nice getting a student produced response rather than the college feeding you a bunch of information that’s been sugar coated to make the college look even better.
So when you begin your college search, I would suggest going online and snooping around there. Also, I would advise you to either buy a copy of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 366 Colleges” or a book that is similar so that you not only get a view point on the college from the college, but also the view point of a student that attends the school.