How to Build an Awesome College List!

Dear High School Juniors,

Your college search process can be a great experience! In fact, it should be. It’s like a shopping spree for your future. My advice? Build a college list with a strong foundation, some exciting choices, and a few options that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.

If you are serious about attending college and earning a degree, it’s imperative to have at least one “safety school”. Two is better, but having at least one school where you are basically guaranteed admission will make your entire process less stressful. Be honest with yourself. Take a look at your grades, test scores and activities and find schools for which you are over-qualified. Find out if these schools are rolling admission, and if that’s the case, apply ASAP. Think of rolling admission as first-come-first-serve; the earlier you get your application in, the more open spots there are!

The best part of your college search is finding your ideal schools. The schools that you think you can get into with your credentials, a killer essay and great teacher recommendations. Some might be a little stretch, others might be right on par with your GPA and test scores. These are the schools that offer the majors and programs in which you are interested! They’re located in the  parts of the country where you want to live–whether it’s 5 minutes from home or a plane ride across the continent! Take a few leaps with the schools in this juicy section of your college list.

If you need help finding ideal schools, ask yourself what you might like to study. Love English classes? Look for schools with terrific creative writing programs. Science nut? Search for schools with excellent research facilities. You can also think about where you’d like to study. If you’re a skiing fanatic, seek out schools in Colorado or Montana where skiing can still be a part of your life. When in doubt, create a profile at Cappex! With hundreds of colleges and scholarships, Cappex can help you find your perfect school and a way to pay for them.

The final tier of your college list can be a couple schools that are big challenges. These schools are more selective or schools you’ve dreamt about but can’t guarantee you’d get into. Pick one or two colleges that will certainly test you – first on the application and later if you wind up attending. You never know what they are looking for and you just might surprise yourself!

One thing to keep in mind: don’t completely overwork yourself. Take time on each application so you can be proud of the finished products you send out.

This process can be stressful, but find ways to make it fun and you’ll be surprised how excited you’ll be for your future as you build your college list!




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