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Making a College List

Developing your college list can be a stressful process, so start early and remember that there are always more than a handful of colleges you could be happy at. Try to avoid thinking there is one right college for you that you must find and get accepted to.

The goal is to come up with a balanced group of about ten schools (including SUNY’s and CUNY’s) that fall into three categories: ReachComfort, and Likely/Safety.

– A Reach school is one where your chances of admission are less likely, but where you have some chance of admission.  In most cases, these are schools where the percentage of admitted applicants is extremely small.

– A Comfort school is one where your credentials for admission are truly competitive and you are qualified for admission.  We would see this as a school where you would have a 50% chance of admission.

– A Likely/Safety school is one where your credentials are very competitive, and where we are confident that you will be admitted.  It is very important that students find the likely schools where they truly believe they can be happy. DO NOT APPLY TO A SCHOOL YOU COULD NEVER ENVISION YOURSELF GOING TO!

Things to Consider When Applying to Colleges:

  • Listen to others’ opinions but you should ultimately make the final decision as it is your future. Own this process!
  • Visit whenever possible! This is the best way to know if a school may be right for you. Eat their food, talk to their students, walk around campus, walk around town, attend classes, meet with admissions personnel, read the school newspaper, and stay overnight
  • Where is the school located? Will you be happy in that type of environment?
  • Consider the distance from home, transportation available, and your comfort level with being near or far from home
  • What degree programs are offered
  • Costs of tuition and housing
  • What kind of financial aid is available
  • Average class size and teacher/student ratio
  • What is the school’s ranking (compared to other institutions)?
  • Extracurricular activities available
  • How large is the student body?
  • How successful are graduates in finding employment?
  • The diversity on campus and whether or not you’ll be comfortable
  • The general feel on campus. What are students like? What are they talking about? What are they doing?
  • Consider your family’s thoughts, opinions, and parameters for where you go to school and how they will impact your decisions