Building Your College List

How do you figure out where to apply to college? 

Many students have a few colleges in mind by the time they reach their junior year. But often this list is a random list of places they might have visited, schools their friends or family have gone to, teams they follow, or colleges featured in movies or other media. That’s a fine place to start, but your list of colleges should be intentional, and factor in some important things personal to you:

  • Cost: make sure you apply to some schools you know you can afford, even without scholarships
  • Size, regional location, and setting- small town/big city?
  • Major fields of study offered- can you study the things you’re interested in?
  • Campus culture and fit- academically competitive? friendly/welcoming? outdoorsy? faith-based?
  • Access to your favorite activities including sports, outdoors, culture and entertainment
  • Chances of getting in- your list must include schools we know you’ll be admitted to, as well as “dream” schools that have very low rates of acceptance

We have some simple surveys to help you understand how to describe your perfect college. 

Here are two tools to try: the first one will take just a few minutes, and the second one is the full survey of Qualities, designed by Dr Steven R Antonoff, and will take considerably longer, but explains each Quality in detail.

My College Bucket List

Qualities That Will Make a College Right for You

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for in a college, try running a search engine to generate a list of colleges:

College Search

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