Selecting Colleges

Creating the list of colleges that interests you and then selecting the colleges to which you will apply are the crucial first steps in the college planning process. Below are some factors to consider when drafting your list of schools.

Location
How far away from home would you like to be? Is this a national or regional search? What type of climate do you prefer?

Setting
Urban (defined or open campus), Suburban (big city or small town, Rural (campus life is focus).

Size
Defining sizes from XS to XL. What are the average class sizes at that school? Does the size allow for teacher – student interaction? How does the school “shrink” with your interests/major?

Facilities
Are you interested in doing research? Does the school have athletic/recreational facilities that meet your needs? Does the school have up-to-date technological resources?

Social Life
What clubs and organizations are offered? Is there a Greek system? Is your religious affiliation important to the search? Do most students live on campus or spend their weekends on campus? How are the residence halls (dorms) structured? What is the male-to-female ratio?

Philosophy
Is the school affiliated with a certain religion? How liberal or conservative is the school?

Curriculum
What special majors or programs are available? Is there a core curriculum that is required of all students? What is the overall quality of the school’s academic programs?

Cost
What types of aid are available: grants, scholarships, and loans? Do you qualify for merit or need-based aid? Is financial aid readily available? How much can your family pay? What are the school’s tuition, room and board, and other fees?

Selectivity
What category does this school fall into based on your admissions application? What are the average SAT/ACT scores and GPA of admitted students? Do your scores and grades make you a strong candidate?

Some Helpful Websites:

Favorite Books:

  • College Unranked by Lloyd Thacker
  • Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope
  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward Fiske
  • K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities by Princeton Review
  • The Gatekeepers by Jacques Steinberg
  • Letting Go by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger
  • The Naked Roommate by Harlan Cohen