2 years ago
School List Suggestions

How do "shrink" your list of possible colleges? Or is it best to have a longer list?

I am a junior (class of 2023) in high school and I have a fairly longer list of colleges in my state that I wish to attend. But I am horrible at making any decisions. What should I do?


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4 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

The ideal number of colleges to apply to is 10, with the list looking like this:

- 3 reach schools

- 4 target schools

- 3 safety schools

Applying to more schools can benefit you so long as you have enough time to do your best work for each application. Quality is more important than quantity. To whittle down your list, I recommend first cutting safety and target schools so that you are only applying to 7 in total.

Reach schools are the category that is most worth keeping longer. Once you are done applying to your 10 core schools, you can keep applying to as many reaches as you have time for. Hope this helps!

2 years ago

hello! i was just like you and had the same issue - had a list of like over 30 schools, and now my list is only about 11 schools (which is still pretty hefty!). here are the things that helped me...

-if possible, visit campus. see if you like the campus itself, the 'vibe' of the school, the city/area around it, think of weather if you're going far away from home.

-MAKE SURE THEY HAVE YOUR INTENDED MAJOR!!! for me, i had to cross out a few schools off my list just because they literally didn't have my major!

-look up graduation rate/success rate/employment rate. make sure students are succeeding AFTER college. for me, i needed at least a 60% graduation rate or higher.

-research what the student body can be like. does the school have a lot of school spirit, or none at all? is it a party school? are students there known for being rude/snude? etc.

-sounds stupid, but try to imagine yourself there. would you be excited to tell people you attend that college? do you think you would like that colleges activities/traditions? etc.

I hope this works! I wish you the best of luck.

2 years ago

I think you already have good answers. I'm also a junior with these issues. I read reviews and watch videos from students and based on the pros, cons, and vibes, I eliminated many schools. I went from like 24 to 13 (that's still a lot, but 4 of them are QuestBridge options so I say 9 in my head). I checked the school's curriculum to see if I like them, read various major requirements, checked to see if the schools even HAVE my major (MIT sounds like a great place, but I see no formal psych major, etc). Make sure you can COMMIT to LIVING at your choices for FOUR YEARS. Honestly I can only say that for about 5 of my choices, but I need options (5 of my schools are state schools) and I can at least imagine an enjoyable time at the rest of my options. Don't pick schools just based on name. Wanting a high ranked school is okay, but make sure it actually fits you. For example, Yale and Brown are the only Ivys I even want to go to. The other schools don't interest me despite their reputation. Find out what size institution you want. Don't do a surface level evaluation (not saying you are). Try to find all the needed information and remove schools that don't fit what you want. It pained me to eliminate big schools from my list, but I realized I don't want them (I cried as I crossed off UCLA, UCB, etc), but it's not what I truly wanted. First (out of order ik), I'd say write down a list of what u want in a school (unbiasedly, as if you didn't know where to go at all). Then I'd take off schools that don't align there. Thanks for reading my Ted Talk.

2 years ago

It's much better to have a shorter list than a longer list, since, once college acceptance letters come out, it'll make it easier to choose one. If you do want to keep your long list, then rank your colleges based off how much you want to attend them, and it'll make the process of picking one much easier. However, it's better to have a short list. Here are a few ways to shrink your list:

- Where is the school? Is it close to home? Far? Do you want to be close to home? Far? What is the climate? What kind of campus is it? Think about geography.

- What majors does it offer? Do they offer majors for a field I want to go into?

- How expensive is this college? Is it within my price range?

- What are the odds of me getting into this college? Is it a safety school? A reach?

- Do I know anyone attending this college? Do I want to start anew, not knowing anyone or do I want to have people I know there?

- Is the school known for the field I want to go into? Will it help me acquire a good job in the field I want to go into?

These are just a few! Idealistically, your college list should be somewhere around 10, with 15 being the very max. Good luck!

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