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Some Factors To Think About When Making a College List

If you’re a student in your Sophomore or Junior years or a parent of a student, you’ve probably thought about a list of colleges you wish to apply, and asked yourself “How do I narrow a college list?” The WNY College Planning Pros at Send Your Kids to College have come up with a few factors to consider when consolidating your list.

To keep this important decision as stress-free as possible, keep these factors in mind.

Your Major is important in trimming your college list

One factor to think about is the potential major. The major chosen plays a major role in shaping what schools you’re looking into. For example, if you’re looking into the STEM field, you’re probably gravitating towards IT schools. Or let's say you’re looking for an urban planning major, your schools of choice are likely to be in or near major cities.

Admissions staff will look at the applicant’s grades and performance in comparison to other applicants to that major. How your potential school prepares you for your career after is key too. When you’re making your college list, REMEMBER your potential major. What do you like, what are you good at, where are your skills and how do you plan to improve them, and finally which schools have programs that align with those? The reality is many kids end up wasting a significant amount of money "choosing a major" in college. Knowing your major heading in, or having a few top picks, can lower your bill at graduation.

High schools try their best to prepare you, but with large class sizes, it can be difficult. That’s where a support system like friends, family, and certified college planning specialists come in to play. We've helped hundreds of WNY kids help navigate this process. We are always one call away!

Your potential career path is a key to college planning success

Springboarding off that line of thinking, we get to your career path. Your career path ties very closely to your major. Consider internships when you get to that stage in college. For example, if you’re getting into the financial sector, a school in NYC that has a partnership with a brokerage would likely be worth more than one in the middle of nowhere without that. The sooner you get hired out of college, the sooner you can start EARNING.

How selective are your dream schools?

Another factor to think about is the selectivity of the school. Applying to at least some of the most selective schools is a natural part of the application process. Students and parents both like visiting these schools for a reason - they can give graduates a big leg up over their peers who didn’t make it in. Remember though, the fit is an important factor too. Can you see yourself living and potentially working there for years? Have a backup plan in mind.

Don't let any dream be too big however, you won't know if you don't try! But, consulting with a college planning specialist can paint a clearer picture of what to expect when applying to these schools.

Fit and school characteristics are on the list, too

Finally, that brings us to school characteristics. Once you’ve considered your major, career path afterward, and selectivity there’s still one more thing. That would be things about the school like school size, class size, extracurriculars available, campus activities, etc. At the end of the day, this factor isn’t as career-altering as the previous two but it’s still important to enjoy where you are. Narrowing your list can be exhausting, which is why we have given you these few factors to consider to make the process a little bit easier. Remember, even though student loans cover your time in college if you don't enjoy your college experience that bill will feel a lot worse if it was wasted money.

Remember to stay up-to-date with our blog for more posts from the college planning experts at Send Your Kids to College. We also have a NEW podcast for you to enjoy! It’s FAFSA Form Season, don’t forget to get your FAFSA done before it's too late. If you haven’t completed your forms or have a question for Jeff, please reach out to us via contact form or emailing!


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