Admit it: The college list is critical. A college list that meets the student’s academic, social and financial needs will produce a desired two-fold effect:
- A well constructed list will most likely achieve greater admissions results.
- Students will begin a path to accomplishing their long-term goals.
Although this sounds easy, families make myriad mistakes in the admissions process that can be traced to an ill-fitting college application list. Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to offer a few suggestions in creating a well-matched college application list.
The right motive. A college list should be centered on the best schools for you. This is much different than composing a list based on college rankings, most popular schools or other people’s opinions. The commonality of those lists is that they all neglect the student’s individual academic, financial and social needs. U.S. News and World Reports Rankings offer little insight to the true nature of learning institutions.
The right questions. The key to a successful college search is asking questions that will determine the best fitting schools. These questions focus on academics, activities, distance, people and size.
How far do you want to be from your home? What size campus is best suited for you? What kind of class environment is best for you? What activities and clubs are important to you?
An educational consultant or guidance counselor can help you determine the right questions to ask during your college search.
The right research. Putting together a college list requires research. Your questions should guide your investigation and should include research utilizing the Internet and college guide books. The College Board’s Big Future and Petersons will generate a number of college search results. Consult The Fiske Guide, The Insider’s Guide to College, Princeton Review and College Bound for in depth research into the schools on your list. Always double check the facts with each school’s website, as facts may vary on college search engines.
The right next steps. Many students mistakenly submit applications at this stage of the application process. Students should take time to think about their choices before submitting their applications. Examine your list with your college counselor, teachers, parents and trusted friends, and ask for their recommendations and insights. Additionally, contact the regional admissions officers for your schools and ask questions about each school. These conversations will help you in crafting a final list of 8 to 10 schools. Remember, there is no better way of determining a college fit than campus visits. These visits are critical to understanding campus life.
The right focus. As Crisp Consulting + Coaching has mentioned before, be certain that you select at least three colleges that extend the normal scope of your guidance counselor’s recommended schools. In order to achieve this, write down your top five college choices. Next, take away all Ivy League schools and selective schools in your state (in North Carolina, selective schools would include: Davidson College, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University). Next, take away all highly selective schools in your region (regional highly selective schools near North Carolina would include: Emory University, University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University). Three of your schools should be different than the same 25 colleges that most students are applying. A qualified educational consultant can help you find phenomenal schools such as Furman University, St John’s College and Wittenberg University which are great schools that are often over looked.
Crisp Consulting + Coaching has information regarding admission, education and school options on our Facebook page, Google+, Twitter feed and YouTube Channel. You can schedule a free forty-five minute admissions consultation with Crisp Consulting + Coaching.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit for admissions success. As a former professor, administrator and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.