How to narrow down lists?Answered
I have a list of just over 50 schools that I’m looking at. I want to get that list ranked and thus down to around 25. I can not physically go to campuses for finicial and pandemic situations and when I do a virtual tour it isn’t representative of an occupatied building with students wandering about and virtual meetings with AOs are great unless they are cold/disinterested which I have sadly had like 1/5 be. So I can’t accurately rate the schools with only a facts sheet/location/majors offered. And I’m looking at 3 majors myself and 1/4 of the schools don’t have my 2nd choice major and apprx 1/8 have my top major and a few of the schools accept C students and on the other end I have a school with sub 10% admit rate. And the campuses are very different from small cities to college towns to metro areas. How can I rank the schools I’m interested in?
Also on the CV live stream Vinay talked about how if you live close by to a private school you have slightly higher chances as you are more likely to enroll. I used to live in city X with school Y that is ivy caliber. We moved away from city x for a few reasons. Do I gain any sort of boost for living in the same city like 5 years before I apply to School Y?
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My recommendation is not to try and rank schools numerically. Instead sort them into tiers on your list. Personally I'd do schools you will apply to, schools you'll probably apply to, and schools you are considering applying to. You can also separate the safeties, reaches, and targets if you wish. You don't need to compare until you're picking (unless you want to do early decision) so right now think of them as individuals.
As far as narrowing down the list to 25, think about what's most important to you, something that every school needs to have. Then cross off the schools that don't have it and come up with another thing that they need to have and keep narrowing until you're satisfied. Sometimes there isn't really much method to it and you need to look at the schools and consider if you would really want to go there (for me I do this by comparing a school to my safety state school that I know I'll apply to since I don't want to waste time on a school I wouldn't go to over that safety.). Only you can do this though so just work at it over time.
As for the boost from location, I would say the only boost you would get is from the "why blank" essay. Because you no longer live there, the school can't assume you're more likely to enroll. However, much like those that live there, you might have experiences with the university from living in the town and that can help you write a good essay about why you want to go there.
Hope this helps!
Wow, 50 schools is a lot! Even 25 is still a large number. I can totally understand feeling overwhelmed though, as there are hundreds of schools out there. As you probably know, we at CollegeVine recommend applying to 8-12 schools. Applying to fewer might mean you don't have many options, and applying to more makes the process very stressful, and might compromise the quality of your applications.
To narrow down your list, I would first try to identify some "non-negotiables," just like @cp839 suggested. This could be a specific major, school size, type of campus, specific club, whether financial aid for study abroad transfers over, etc. If you don't have any non-negotiables, start by creating a ranked list of what's most important to you in a college. You could also create a sheet with columns of all the aspects you're looking for, and write a check or X if the school has or doesn't have it. Then, you can tally the number of checks to "rank" the schools and eliminate ones under a certain threshold.
If financial aid will be important to you, this is a really easy way to eliminate schools. You can use CollegeVine's net price tool, and also verify with each school's net price calculator to see what a college will cost you. You can eliminate any that aren't projected to be affordable. It's important to apply to schools you think you'll be able to afford, as it's no fun to spend time on an application, get accepted, and not be able to attend.
As for your final question, formerly living near a private school will not give your application a boost, as you're no longer there. @cp839 is right though that it can potentially help you write better supplemental essays though.
Hope this helps, and good luck!
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