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Steps to Choosing a College

Steps to Choosing a College

It is so very important to take the time to research the different colleges that you may want to attend. Below you will find the steps to take to find the match for you!
Great website to help you develop a great College List! 
How to Develop a Great College List

Step 1: Make a list of colleges that interest you 
Prioritize what is important to you in a college. Look at some factors such as admissions, academics, sports, location, extracurricular, cost, housing, etc.

You can begin your research on College Board by using the College Search in BigFuture

You may also use Schoolinks as a tool to research different colleges. 


Step 2: Research and Compare 
Once you have your list of schools, begin to dive deeper into the college and research specifics. Then compare each college to one another, allowing you to narrow your list. A great site to use while you research is

·          Admissions process and requirements

·          Cost of the Application

·          Location

·          Private/Public

·          Number of students

·          Possible major options

·          Class sizes

·          Honors Programs

·          Study Abroad

·          Learning support

·          Room and Board

·          Tuition cost

·          Other fees

·          Financial aid

·          Scholarships


Step 3: Finalize your list
After your research, it is time to finalize your list of colleges. I would suggest narrowing your list to 5-12 colleges (12 begin on the high end).

2-3 safety schools (schools that you have a higher likelihood of acceptance based on academics, extracurricular; this may be a junior college or auto acceptance school)

2-3 target schools (schools where you have a good chance of acceptance)

1-2 reach schools (schools you are unlikely to be accepted to based on competitive admission guidelines)

·          Research admissions rates. Use College Board and Schoolinks websites to determine GPA and test scores of the recently admitted students.

·          Seek advice from family, friends, and your counselors.


           Use the “Best College Fit Method”  by Peter Van Buskirk

Student’s test scores fall within   >   Formula to determine chance of admissions:

Bottom 25% of recently admitted students   >   School admit rate divided by 2 = you estimated chance of admissions

Within the mean range of admitted students   >   School admit rate = your estimated chance of admission

Top 25% of admitted students   >   School admit rate x 2 = your estimated chance of admissions


If a student’s estimated chance of admission, as determined by the formula above, is greater than 60%, the Van Buskirk methodology suggests that the school is a “safety” school. If a student’s estimated chance of admission is 40-60% using the above formula, the school is a “target” school. Finally, if a student’s estimated chance of admission is less than 40%, the school is a “reach” school.


Step 4: APPLY 
Now you have your list and you are READY to apply! Make sure to check out the section labeled “The College Application”!