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How do I narrow down my list of colleges?

I have about 20 colleges left on my list and I could use some advice as to how I should go about narrowing down my list to find the few I should apply to.

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Sree Padma’s Answer

Make a wish list of what you want out of college. This list could be from the kind of education to extracurricular activities. Compare your wish list with the amenities offered by the colleges on your list and prioritize accordingly.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. David
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. Below are my suggestions :
1. Decide what career you would like to pursue
2. Identify the relevant subjects of the careers
3. Explore the colleges offering the subjects
4. Find out the ranking and comments on colleges offering that subjects
5. Attend the information sessions of the colleges
6. Shortlist the college that meet your expectation
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. David
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Leanna’s Answer

My suggestion would be to start with research. Based on your future aspirations, narrow the list of Colleges down to the ones that specialize in the programs you are most interested in. Once you come up with a short-list, I would recommend networking. Getting in touch with career centre reps from the schools as well as Alumni could help you understand more about the campus culture and help you decide whether or not it's a fit for you. Best of luck!
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Audrey’s Answer

I would look at the common things like programs/recruiting programs/student organizations.

Another thing to think about is what the student housing looks like/where the schools are. For example, schools in the city (especially New York City) have great networking/internship options. However, if living a city lifestyle is not for you/your housing budget, that's something to think about. Alternatively, if the school is in a small town and that's not the lifestyle you like, that's something to consider.

Lastly, think about access to your home town/affordability. If you choose something out of state that's not drive-able, the flights to/from campus several times a year can add up.

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Elliott’s Answer

Hey David,
If it's financially feasible for you, I would recommend trying to visit as many of the schools as possible. It may be the case that a college is on your list because of various attributes about it on paper, but in person it may just not fit with your vibe. I was going to apply to a college that had an amazing academic reputation, fields of study that I enjoyed, and a presence in college culture that I thought I would love, but after visiting the campus I realized that there was a difference between my image of the institution, and how it actually appeared. (And I ended up not applying)
It's not always financially feasible to do so, but there are other ways you can learn more about the places and narrow down your list. Most admissions office will be more than happy to connect you with current students who are from your area who you can ask about their experience. Alumni organizations associated with a university also often have local branches/chapters; if there's one in your area you can ask to speak with some of their members and learn about their experience.
This is of course in addition to doing some due diligence on the schools themselves before you decide to apply. If all you can answer about a school is their mascot and the city it's in, you may want to learn a little more about them before you're ready to apply ;-)
Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. David
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Joanne’s Answer

Hello David- I have worked in college admission for over 15 years. The best way to narrow down your list is to divide the schools into different categories such as close to home, far from home, financial reach or more affordable, academic reach or realistic chance for acceptance. Once you narrow it down to about 10 schools, then you can decide which ones you can visit either in person or virtually.

If you are unsure about a major choice, make sure that you apply to schools that have many majors to choose from (it really is ok not to be sure what you want to major in).

Finally, remember once you have acceptances you will be able to take advantage of many resources to help you narrow down which school is within your price range, provides the choices you need academically, location, location, location and finally campus life. Be open minded and you will find the right fit for you.
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