Before you begin your college applications, it is a good idea to narrow down your colleges to a list that can be referred to throughout the application process.
Make a List of Colleges
The common application may tempt you to begin the application process with only a vague idea of which schools you may want to attend. However, making a college list before filling out applications is extremely important. Your list of colleges forms the foundation from which you should base all your research and application efforts. Forming a careful and well-thought-out list of colleges keeps you organized right from the beginning.
Keep Your List of Colleges Flexible
The list of colleges should remain fluid. For example, if while you are filling out applications, you learn about a college that would be an ideal fit for you, it may be worth removing another college from your current list. A college list helps you stay on track and allocate enough time to apply to every college you want to attend.
Keep Costs and Financial Aid Top of Mind
The total cost of college is by far one of the most important things to consider when making a college list. The college application process will be much less stressful if you apply to colleges that fit within your budget. Having an open conversation with your parents about tuition costs will manage expectations before you set your heart on a school that might leave you with a lot of student debt. During your research, pay close attention to the financial aid offered by each school. Often, school-sponsored scholarships can mean the difference between a school being financially feasible or financially out of reach.
Keep an Open Mind
Finally, keep in mind that not every school will fit perfectly into your expectations. If a school does not meet your entire criteria, it may still make good sense to apply. If you do not get accepted by your first choice, you will still have opportunities of being accepted into other schools that are excellent choices for your post-secondary goals. A well-written essay will help you understand what is needed for the admittance process.