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Narrowing Down Your List of College Choices

Narrowing down your choices isn't so hard once you consider who you are as a person and what you want in your college experience.

Bailey Vannatta

October 14, 2014

Narrowing Down Your List of College Choices
For some, choosing which colleges you’d like to apply to can become overwhelming. There are so many benefits to each college that you might find yourself wanting to apply everywhere. Narrowing down your choices isn't so hard once you consider who you are as a person and what you want in your college experience. Here’s a list of what you should consider to help you narrow down your list of college choices so that you can decide which colleges you should submit applications to:

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1. Consider Who You Are and What You Like

You know yourself better than anyone else. You might want to sit down and write out a list of what you’re looking for in a college. Consider the following questions, which are important to think of when first searching for the perfect college fit:

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• Do you want a big classroom where you can blend in and be unknown?
• Would you rather have a small teacher to student ratio and get to know your professor personally?
• Would you like your college to be in the city?

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• Are you more of a rural type of person?
• Do you prefer a college with abundant student life activities?
• Are you adamant about focusing on your education?

2. Plan a Visit

Once you have some colleges with qualities you like, plan to visit them. There is no better way to tell if a college is for you than being on campus. Once you’re there, make sure to check into things you’re interested in (student government, specialty housing, Greek Life, etc.). Some colleges offer one-on-one visits with professors over majors you’re interested in. Make sure to take advantage of all they offer. Also, be sure to check out the surrounding atmosphere while you’re there. If you cannot picture yourself living in this place for an extended time, then you will know it’s not the right school for you.

3. View the Application

Before you apply to any colleges you’re considering, make sure to view the application. All applications are unique and require different things. Some of the most important things to consider are your GPA/class rank and your SAT/ACT scores. These help colleges determine if you’re fit to attend their school. Don’t let this scare you, though. Just as you shouldn't apply somewhere just to see if you can get in, don’t not apply somewhere just because you’re afraid that you won’t get in. If you really like a college, but your test scores aren't up to par, you can always retake the test(s). Just make sure your scores can be sent before the application deadline.

4. Really Consider Attending

If you’re not really considering going to a school the next 4+ years, don’t waste time submitting an application there. Some students have had dream schools for as long as they can remember, but once they visited, it just didn't fit. Others have families where everyone has attended the same school, but they just don’t feel like it’s right for them. Don’t be pressured into making a decision you don’t want to. Remember, this is ultimately your decision. Choose a college that you know will make you happy.

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