5 Questions to Ask When Finalizing Your College List
Finalizing your college list is one of the most important decisions high school students will have to make. Before solidifying your choices, it’s important to research each school thoroughly and reflect on what you are looking for in a college.
To feel confident in your selections, prospective applicants should have the answers to a series of questions about each school on their best-fit list. Keep reading to learn more about what queries you should ask when finalizing your college application decisions.
Where do I stand compared to other applicants?
It’s important to be realistic about your admissions odds. To compile a balanced college list, students should have a range of schools that include targets, reaches, and likelies. If you’re not sure where a prospective college falls on this spectrum, do some research to get a better idea of what a typical applicant pool looks like. Most schools publish statistics about their incoming class, such as median SAT/ACT scores and the average GPA of accepted students. Compare your own grades and scores with these statistics to learn more about a college’s academic profile and what you should aim for in order to be competitive.
What courses/majors am I interested in pursuing?
College is a valuable opportunity to deepen your expertise in the fields you are most passionate about. Top applicants will enter the application process with well-honed interests and passions that they can build upon throughout their college career. Make sure you have an in-depth understanding of the courses, programs, and majors that each prospective college offers and pinpoint which opportunities align with your interests. Take it a step further by researching course offerings to learn more about specific classes you may wish to take and the professors who teach them.
What kind of campus environment can I expect?
Every student has their own vision of what they’re looking for in a college environment. Some may seek out a more rural atmosphere and tight-knit campus feel while other students may be eager to get their start in a big city. There’s no one-size-fits-all best option, but there is the best choice for your needs and goals. If you’re not sure what type of environment you prefer, strive to take a few tours (either in-person or virtually) of different types of campuses to get a sense of what you gravitate towards.
What types of extracurricular activities will be on my radar?
In addition to attending courses and studying for finals, how do you hope to spend your time in college? Whether it’s playing on a varsity sports team or writing for the campus newspaper, reflect on the types of activities that you prioritize and make sure each of your prospective colleges offers related opportunities. Many colleges publish lists of their clubs, sports teams, and other extracurricular opportunities, so do your research to learn what’s available.
Is this school a good financial fit?
There are many factors that go into every college decision and for most students, financial aid will play a role in their choices. Make sure to explore what kinds of financial aid offerings are available for each school on your prospective best-fit list. Consider checking out the net price calculator on each college’s website to get a better picture of what your family might be expected to pay. If you have any questions, reach out to the college’s financial aid office for more personalized information.
While finalizing your application list may feel overwhelming, it’s also an exciting step in your college admissions journey. If you are in the process of deciding which schools to apply to and looking for expert information, our team of college admissions counselors can point you in the right direction.