Notepad with orange and green pen and to do list with items wake up, coffee, the

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!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
college admission college list college search final college decision finding a college videos

About CollegeXpress

CollegeXpress

Welcome to CollegeXpress, your one-stop college shop! We’re a free college planning website used by millions of college-bound students, parents, and counselors—anyone who needs help navigating the college search and application process, financial aid opportunities, and more. You’ll find comprehensive College Search and Scholarship Search tools, tons of articles and expert advice, unique college lists and rankings, and lots of other resources to help make your life easier. Teen Vogue even named us one of the 7 Best College Search Websites! But current college students and recent grads also love CollegeXpress for our Grad School Search tool and endless information on student life, internships, and beyond. We really have something for everyone, no matter where you are on your college journey. 😊

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Keaun Brown

Keaun Brown

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2020

As I transition to furthering my education, I can say with certainty that it simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous organizations such as CollegeXpress. Those who initially founded CX had no idea their platform would give a plethora of information to a first-generation homeless kid native to the ghettos of over half a dozen states. Everyone at CX and Carnegie Dartlet gave me a chance at a future when the statistics said I had none. And for that, I thank them.

Rana Slosberg

Rana Slosberg

Slosberg College Solutions LLC

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is the 800+ lists which have all kinds of hard-to-find information. These lists are helpful when I’m creating college lists, and I also use them to give students a feel for a particular college or university.

Jada Bohanon

Jada Bohanon

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships for the colleges I applied to. It was very hard for me to find scholarships in the beginning that I was qualified for. My teachers recommended this website to find some, and not only did I find some scholarships but I also got to look into some schools I hadn’t heard of before. I was very happy to have discovered this website, especially with the coronavirus spreading all over as I can’t really go visit many colleges.

Mimi

Mimi

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has provided me with tips that were for college students, but as a high school junior, they were still very useful. Not only that, it also gave me an idea of what to expect when it comes to going to college or already being in college. I want to say thank you to CollegeXpress, and I hope you continue the wonderful tips until I hopefully get into college and throughout my college journey.

Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

College Matches