Narrowing Down Your College List

Let's say you find 25 colleges that sound interesting. How do you decide which ones deserve your time and attention?

If you have been searching for colleges for a while, it might be difficult to see the end of your college list. Now it's time to refine that list.

Start with a Large Group of Colleges That Appeal to You

Many students identify 20 or more colleges without much problem. But if you have only a few colleges on your list, search for more based on what you want in a college. You need to start with 10-20 colleges so you can narrow your list down to your best choices.

Make a Shorter List of the Most Promising Candidates

The colleges that end up on your shorter list should be those that most closely match what you're looking for. Start with those that meet your most important requirements. Eliminate those that fall short. Looking at Colleges Side by Side can help you identify these colleges. If you need help understanding what you most want in a college, take a look at How to Choose Your Top College Priorities.

If You Need to Find Out More

If you realize that you don't know enough about your colleges, find useful information about them on their College Profiles. Dive into college catalogs and websites. Visit campuses and meet with college representatives. Talk with your counselor and current or former students about these colleges.

Tips for Building a Great Application List

Every year, many students find they are less-than-thrilled with the results of their college applications. So how do you make sure your college list leads to a happy ending?

What's Next?