Your Selective College List–not Hers

Your Selective College List–not Hers

So what is a college list? With thousands of colleges and universities available–and most of them accepting up to 80% of applicants–a college list is about choice not status. When you apply to the colleges on your list, you are applying to schools you want to go to–not schools others want you to go to. You are also applying to schools that are likely to accept you, some just more-or-less likely to accept you. In fact, colleges want to accept you. Yes, you. 

But as hard as colleges are looking for you, you have to work harder to find them, or at least the right ones to fit your learning personality, your interests, your goals, get the idea.

With all the emphasis on you, it is no surprise that the first step in developing a college list is not to go on a gazillion (yes, there are almost that many schools) virtual campus tours to learn about all of those schools. A tour of a real campus nearby can be a good idea, just to pick up the vibe and scent of a college campus. The best thing is for you to focus on yourself because knowing yourself is tantamount to knowing what you want, the precursor to getting what you want.

Maybe all this talk of self-knowledge is making you uncomfortable, making you squirm a bit. And it’s true that you do not need to declare a major (a few exceptions), but you do want to access the right environment to help you figure out a major if you don’t already know it. To get accepted to schools that provide you with the right environment, you need to think about how you learn best, what physical, social, and academic environments suit you, what you and your folks will afford, and your responses to the many other components of a college education. Knowing these things, even if a little hazily, can help you select the colleges that will select you.

This takes work, and your best friend is your school counselor. He or she can help you make sense of things by suggesting exercises and work sheets to clarify your values and your goals. And if your counselor is swamped, there are many resources out there on the web or through private counselors to help you.

It is no small irony that so many people blindly race toward the elite schools that have to be selective and find ways to eliminate applicants when so many other good institutions want to accept those same students if they are a good fit.

To be selected, you have be selective, and to be selective starts with you knowing as much about yourself as you can. You want to build a college list that reflects you and that offers you choice when notifications come in.

Know yourself to build a selective college list–of choice and opportunity.