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What's a Good Way to Start My US University Search?

Sometimes the hardest part of the university search is just starting. Here's some expert advice to start your research and school list.

Jon FrankJon Frank
There are two main ways to begin your US university search. The first is purely based on numbers (grades, admission competitiveness, etc.) and the second is personal (location, atmosphere, overall “fit”). Let’s look at both.

  • First, the numbers. Many resources list schools’ average GPA, SAT and ACT scores, and TOEFL scores for international students. Start by finding a range of the schools where your scores fit comfortably, including “reach” and “safety” schools. Find where your scores fit within that range. This is a good starting point, and you should try to narrow your list to approximately 30 universities.
  • Second, fit. Next, begin to consider additional factors. Do you want to be in a warm climate? Do you want to be near your family in the United States? What about going to a huge school with resources for graduate students, versus a smaller school, focused entirely on undergraduates? Think about what’s really important to you in your university search, as well as all the things you’d like access to. For example, a rugby team or the ability to write for a school literary journal. Then compare these factors to your initial numbers-based list to bring your list to approximately 15–20 schools.

Looking for schools to add to your university search list? Look no further than our featured global colleges lists.

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