How do you decide which colleges to apply to?

How do you decide what colleges to apply to? There are over 3000 universities in the United States, and it can be a daunting task to narrow down the list of colleges to 10-15 schools.  

Many students rely on Naviance, software that claims to help students predict where they have a good chance of getting in. A recent article describes how much influence Naviance has on students when they’re choosing schools. We’ve heard many students say that they created their college list using Naviance, since that’s what their guidance counselor recommended. Students also tend apply to the same schools as their friends. 

These may be good starting points, but they shouldn’t limit students in any way, which we’ve seen happen over and over again. 

It’s good to remember that you are unique and college admissions representatives look at your entire application, not just test scores and grades. 

A few years ago, a guidance counselor at a top Illinois high school told a student she had “no chance” of getting into Stanford. Thankfully she didn’t listen to her counselor. This young woman started working with us the summer after 11th grade and got into Stanford early action! 

Clearly, her guidance counselor hadn’t taken the time to know her, what she had accomplished, and how well she could think and write. She only looked at her grades and test scores.  

It’s best to keep all possibilities open and not be limited by what others tell you. Dream big, work hard, and remember: the sky’s the limit!

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