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How to Make Your College List

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How to Make Your College List

Although college is still a few years away for high school sophomores and juniors, now is the time to start creating a list of prospective colleges. The best way to know if a school is right for you is to visit the campus—and college visits take organization and time.

We’ve all heard certain stereotypes about specific colleges—which colleges are the hardest to get into, the specific schools that have the largest “party scene,” the nicest college campuses, etc. But to really make your college list, as smartly and informatively as possible, you need to do some research yourself.

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With more information about perspective colleges, you will not only be able to divide the list into “reach” schools and “safety” schools, but you can also plan your college visits ahead of time. Interested in UNC, Duke, Tulane, and Emory? You can strategically plan a trip to the South and visit all these schools in one weeklong school vacation. Making a college list will save you time, and help ease and organize the daunting application process.

How to Make Your College List

Here are a few online resources to help you make your college list.

1. College Xpress

This website provides 50 filters to make your college search easier. You can really nail down your exact interests, and find the right perspective colleges for you. They also provide a scholarship search, college rankings, and expert college advice.

2. The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review publishes guides with rankings of the best colleges. This ranking system isn’t only based on SAT or ACT scores, though—instead, all data is based on surveys of 126,000 students attending those colleges. Rankings are categorized by academics, campus life, town life, school type, and many more.

3. US News- Education

This website is known for publishing a “Best College” list every year. Although the data could be disputed, this resource isn’t only about the “Best” schools in all of America—it also lists regional colleges, best value schools, “A+ schools for B students,” etc.

4. CollegeData

This website actually matches you with prospective colleges. All you have to do is fill in your location, school size preference, admission difficulty, subject interest, and cost. Whatever your niche is, CollegeData will find colleges for you.

5. Naviance

You can access Naviance as a guidance counselor, parent, or student. Naviance is a consulting service, which helps you plan your career strategy, college strategy, and tells you what you need to do to complete these goals. It also matches perspective colleges with your academic performance.

6. Custom College Rankings

Not only does this website rank US colleges, but it also provides detailed information about acceptance rates, cost, percentage of students receiving financial aid, endowment, test scores, and much more. You can sort the list by any of these categories, depending on your needs.

7. College Confidential

This resource offers dozens of filters for your college search. You can also get matched, pin your favorite colleges, and share any updates in your college search via Facebook, email, and Twitter.

Of course, there are many other resources with extensive information on college admissions. Remember that you should never keep only one factor (test scores, admission rates, reputation) in mind when deciding what colleges should make your list. Whatever matters to you most in your college decision—whether it is size, location, available majors, or ranking—you have the resources to search for colleges that meet this specific need.

Every little detail matters in the admission process—make sure to do your research!

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