3 Steps To Narrowing Down Your College Options

By Sabrina Hagan - University of Pennsylvania - NextGenVest Global Ambassador

Blurb: Don’t just follow a list your college counselor gives you; make your own list of likes and dislikes in regards to characteristics colleges have.Whether you have had your college list ready since the sixth grade or are now scrambling to start, finding a college that fits you is an important and thought-provoking task. Wherever you are in the process, you need to take a step back and think about where and how you want to spend the next four years.With the multitude of letters and booklets from colleges all over the country spamming your mail and inbox, it can seem overwhelming to take all of this information and shorten it to a list of six to ten schools, so you need to narrow down your options.  Use these three important tips to find your way to the best campus and program for you.

Ask yourself the tough questions.

Will I thrive in a small or big college? Do I want to go to school in an urban or rural setting? What majors does the college offer? What is the average amount of financial aid the school offers? Once you have answered these questions, use sites like collegeboard.com to match colleges to your criteria.

Learn about the school’s “personality.”

Don’t solely consider national rank and academics; go to collegeconfidential.com, read The Princeton Review’s Best 378 Colleges, or talk to friends that are current students to find colleges that are the most earth-friendly, politically-active, or studious. Find out its freshmen retention rate and ask what current students like and dislike about the school.

Get on campus.

The only way to truly know if a college is the college for you is to schedule a tour and visit. While on campus, determine if it is the kind of environment in which you want to stay for the next four years. Visit the facilities at which you plan to spend the most time, and do not forget to take notes and pictures so that afterwards you can look back and remember what you liked and disliked about each school.