Creating a personalized, well-rounded college list is one of the first steps we start working on with our students, as this guides so many of the steps that follow (from resumes to applications and essays).  There are thousands of factors to consider when choosing which colleges to put on a final college application list, and hundreds of schools that might fit the bill, so we urge parents and students alike to keep an open mind and not to be swayed by name recognition alone. Jon Reider, former Senior Admissions Officer at Stanford University, advises families to,

“Resist brands and ‘names.’ Ask yourself: ‘I know this is supposed to be a ‘good, even great’ college. But what do I really know about it? Can I name even one professor there? What is its philosophy?’”

Before our students add any school to their college list we ask, “Why this school?” Students should be able to answer this question about all of the schools on their college list. Many schools on our students’ lists have a variation of the “Why this college?” question on their application. Once a student gets to know a college through intensive research, visits and other experiences, then he or she can decide if that school will be a good fit, regardless of reputation or where it falls on a publication’s ranking.

Introducing the matchpoint guide to college lists

College MatchPoint has developed a guide to building a college list. The MatchPoint Guide includes the following topics:

  • Building your college list criteria
  • Utilizing college profiles to research your list
  • Our approach to college lists

The guide also includes resources from College Planner Pro, the platform we use to work with our students on their college list.