Building an initial college list pt. 2

By Kerry Lynch
February 8, 2021

Many high school seniors complete a close reading of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In the first act, Polonius speaks with his son, Laertes, who is about to leave for university. He suggests, “This above all, to thine ownself be true…” In the previous blog, I make suggestions about how to understand what is important to you in your coming college experience. See our January 18th blog to get started on that so you can stay true to your values. This blog takes you through the next step in the process.

At College Edge, we recommend starting your search with 20-30 colleges and universities. Once you are engaged in developing your list of colleges, you will want to dig deep and do some quality research to really get to know what each offers. Although you may get out to participate in college visits before making a final decision, most likely you will start with college websites. In the time of COVID, you can make virtual visits at no cost. Here are questions you should keep coming back to as you research:

  • Can I be sure that I would get the education I need for the career I want?
  • Does this college offer things that I know are important to me?
  • What is offered that I desire even if I don’t need?
  • Does it feel right? Back away if you “thought” it would be good but in researching, you just cannot feel excited about it.

One bit of advice, register for a virtual information session. Colleges often consider your “demonstrated interest” so take the time to build a file with them. If they send you post-session surveys or follow up information, be sure to respond as long as the school remains on your list of potential colleges.

Your research should lead to a narrowed down list of 8-15 colleges. The final step involves categorizing and prioritizing the list so you get it to 6-10 colleges, which reflect your preferences and will likely have a lot in common with each other. If you can picture yourself on the campus, then keep it on the list! For more on the final list, see our blog posted on September 14, 2020.

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