Video: 4 Tips to Narrow Down Your College List

Trying to make your final college decision? Find your best-fit school by learning how to narrow down your college list.

Senior year is hard enough as it is, but then you have to factor in choosing a college—hello extra stress! When it comes to narrowing down your college list, you don’t want to make any rash decisions, but you also have to start making cuts eventually. Student vlogger Isabella is currently narrowing down her college list and wanted to share four tips on how she’s making clear, safe cuts that will leave her with the right school. Check out the video below to learn more.

1. Gather information on all your colleges

There are crucial aspects that every student needs to look into before deciding on a college. Research information about:

  • Majors offered at the school
  • If you have the choice to live on campus or at home freshman year
  • How much financial safety you’ll have if you attend—both college costs and financial aid factor into this

2. Go on campus visits

While virtual tours are helpful to get a surface idea of a school, go on campus visits if you’re able to. Stepping foot on campus will give you a deeper understanding of a school by being able to:

  • Walk around the campus in-person
  • Sit in on classes
  • Meet professors, staff, and students—and ask questions
  • See if the campus is a good size
  • Find out what the surrounding neighborhood or city is like
  • Get an actual feel for the atmosphere and if the school feels right for you 

Bonus tip: Sign up for emails and mail resources from your schools of interest to get more information and see what each college thinks is most important for you to know.

3. Look at acceptance rates

Acceptance rates give you a good idea of your chances of getting into a school if you were to apply. There’s nothing wrong with applying to selective schools and reaching to be a part of a low acceptance rate, but there are a few things to consider if you do:

  • Compare your academic qualifications against their requirements
  • Don’t let the acceptance rate scare you—but be prepared for a higher chance of rejection
  • Focusing your efforts on less selective schools may be better if your grades or SAT/ACT scores are low
  • You still have to pay application fees for most schools even if you don’t get in, so only apply to schools you could see yourself attending

4. Consider the financial implications

College is expensive, and there’s a good chance you’re going to need to take out loans. While financial safety shouldn’t totally scare you away from more expensive schools, consider all the factors of college costs and financial aid and ask yourself: will you be in debt for the next 20 years? Factors of college costs and aid include:

  • Tuition
  • Room and board
  • Fees and other expenses
  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Student loans
  • Work-study or part-time work

We hope these tips help you narrow down your college list so you can find the school that’s right for you! 

National Decision Day is coming up. Let us know how you were able to narrow down your college list to your top choice(s) on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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