top of page

5 Steps to Crafting Your College List: Discover Your Perfect Fit

Helping students build a college list is one of the best parts of being a college admissions coach. I learn so much about a student’s values, dreams, and the nuanced preferences that make them a one-of-a-kind, amazing human being.

I get to join them on their future college dream sequence, whether it's navigating the bustling streets of metropolitan New York University or soaking in the serene beauty of Middlebury in rural Vermont. Do they lean towards marine biology or are they drawn to the world of accounting? Do they prefer the anonymity of a large state school or the intimate atmosphere of a small liberal arts college? While the array of choices may appear overwhelming, it's exhilarating to envision the endless possibilities and embark on the journey of self-discovery.

If you're currently creating your own college list or assisting someone else in doing so, this newsletter is here to help. I'll break down the process into manageable steps and offer a few resources to kickstart your journey. So, get ready to dive deep, aim high, and research like the dickens to craft your list like a boss.

5 Steps to Crafting Your College List:

  1. Know Thyself: Take some time for self-reflection. What are your passions, interests, and goals? Understanding yourself is key to finding a college that's the right fit for you.

  2. Define Your Priorities: What matters most to you in a college? Is it location, size, academic programs, or something else entirely? Take stock of your priorities to guide your search.

  3. Research Wisely: Dive deep into researching colleges that align with your priorities. Explore websites, attend virtual events, and reach out to current students or alumni for insights.

  4. Categorize Strategically: Divide your list into reach, target, and safety schools based on your academic profile and preferences. Be realistic but also don't be afraid to aim high.

  5. Narrow Your Options: Now that you've done your research and compiled a list of potential colleges, it's time to narrow it down to a manageable size. Aim for a final list of 7-10 schools, ensuring a diverse mix that covers all bases. Here's a suggested breakdown:

  • 1 Hail Mary School: Dream big and aim for the stars with your wildest dream school. This is your chance to swing for the fences and pursue your ultimate college fantasy.

  • 2-3 Reach Schools: These are the colleges where acceptance might be a bit of a stretch but not entirely out of reach. They're the ones that make your heart race with excitement and anticipation.

  • 2-3 Target Schools: These are the colleges where you're well within the realm of possibility for acceptance. They're the ones that align closely with your academic profile and personal profile.

  • 2-3 Safety Schools: While it's important to aim high, it's also wise to have a safety net in place. These are the colleges where you're confident in your ability to secure admission, providing peace of mind in case things don't go according to plan.

Resources to guide you along the way:

  • College Express: A treasure trove of information on colleges and the admissions process. Dive into their articles and resources to gain valuable insights.

  • Fiske Guide: A comprehensive guidebook offering in-depth profiles of colleges across the U.S. Use it as a starting point for your research and exploration.

  • Take virtual college tours and explore campuses from the comfort of your own home to get a feel for life on campus.

With these steps and resources in hand, you're well-equipped to tackle the task of building your college list with confidence and clarity. Remember, this journey is about finding the best fit for you – so trust yourself, stay focused, and embrace the adventure ahead!

Here's to living your dreams,


0 views0 comments


bottom of page