How to Create Your Perfect College List

Identify the right schools to meet your academic, financial, and lifestyle goals

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Introduction

近4,000所大学in the United States, it may seem overwhelming or impossible to figure out where your child should apply. It’s no surprise that so many students wonder, “What colleges should I apply to?” and “How many colleges should I apply to?”

Of course, you and your child may be familiar with the big-name schools—哈佛大学,Yale,Stanford,UCLA等等。但是,您可能不知道这些学校彼此之间有何区别,也不知道还有哪些其他选择。

Unfortunately, families who are less well informed about available schools tend to commit one of two major errors while developing their college list:

  • Applying to too many schools: We’ve heard stories of students who applied to 25+ schools in hopes of getting insomewhere声望很高的。这是一个糟糕的策略,因为在有限的时间和关注的情况下,每次额外的学校的质量可能会降低。

  • Applying to familiar schools only:学生有时只能申请当地学校和某些著名学校,因为这些学校是他们唯一听说过的学校。这些学生错过了申请对他们同样适合他们的学校的申请,即使不是更好。有时,即使是著名的大学也不熟悉学生。例如,我们无法告诉您有感兴趣的学生有多少次参加哈佛大学或斯坦福大学学习业务的想法宾夕法尼亚和theUniversity of Chicago是享有声望的州立学校。

The better strategy is to thoroughly research colleges and universities so you can make well-informed decisions about developing a college list that not only has balance (i.e., “reach,” “target,” and “safety” schools) but also includes only schools that your child would be thrilled to attend. After all, why work so hard for four years just to settle?

为了帮助您浏览可用的美国大学和大学的巨大世界,我们将突出显示您最重要的考虑因素,绝不是特别的顺序。

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因素1:学校数量

Just as many students and families puzzle over where to apply, plenty also wonder how many colleges they should apply to.

Applying to a greater number of schools technically increases your child’s admissions odds. However, when it comes to college admissions—unlike, say, medical school admissions or admissions to other types of competitive graduate programs—your child is facing the issue ofwherethey’ll get in, not如果他们会进入某个地方。

We typically recommend creating a school list comprised of 9–12 institutions with the following breakdown:

  • 2–3 “safety” schools: A safety school is one where your child’s GPA and ACT/SAT score exceeds the 75th percentile of admitted students.

  • 4–6“目标”学校: A target school is one where your child’s GPA and ACT/SAT score are somewhere between the 50th and 75th percentile of admitted students.

  • 3“到达”学校: A reach school is one where your child’s GPA and ACT/SAT score fall between the 25th and 50th percentile of admitted students.

  • (Optional) 1 “far reach” school: A far reach school is one where your child’s GPA and ACT/SAT score place them below the 25th percentile of admitted students. Please note that is highly unlikely that your child will get into their far reach school.

(注意:如果您的孩子申请University of California (UC) schools, you should feel free to count them asoneschool because they require a single application with the same essay prompts (known as “personal insight questions”). Our massive article on写作great UC application essays详细介绍UC应用程序。)

Keep in mind that highly selective colleges—i.e., those with acceptance rates below 10 percent, such asIvy League和“ Ivy+”学校 - 根据孩子的学术形象,应始终被认为是触及范围或远足的范围。虽然令人难以置信extracurricular profile, superb college essays, andapplying early decision or restrictive early action这些学校将有助于提高您的孩子的录取赔率,这些学校通常会拒绝成绩完美和考试成绩的学生,因此很难将他们归类为任何人的目标或安全学校。

我们想回到以前关于只申请您的孩子很兴奋的学校的观点。我们通常会观察到学生申请学校的学生(通常是安全学校或不良地点的学生),他们没有实际的就读愿望。有这么多可用的大学和大学,以及有限的时间和关注,没有理由包括不吸引您孩子的学校。

Are my child’s GPA and test scores the only factors that determine how likely they are to get in?

Grades and test scores aren't everything, not even close. Colleges practice holistic admissions, meaning they will strongly consider your child's background, context, extracurricular achievements, and personal factors when making admission decisions.

Still,GPAACT或者SAT scoresprovide an excellent foundation for classifying schools’ competitiveness. Communicating the qualitative factors mentioned above is best done through your child's application essays, for which we recommend the following resources (numerous example essays are included in each article):

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因子2:专业,计划和机会

Universities, even those within the same tier, offer significantly different majors, programs, and opportunities to their students that warrant a closer look before your child adds them to their school list.

For example, take康奈尔Dartmouth, both prestigious Ivy League universities in rural settings. If your child is interested in pursuing a career in agriculture or hotel management, Cornell may be the better fit because they offer majors inagricultural sciences酒店管理大多数其他顶级学校没有。

或者,也许您的孩子有兴趣追求新闻业。如果是这样,鉴于其享有声望Medill School of Journalism, which students can apply to enter as undergraduates.

By identifying specific interests ahead of time, your child will be better able to narrow down their school list choices. While your child may change their mind about their major during college, we encourage them to consider the full range of areas that intrigue them now to ensure that the schools on their list can accommodate evolving interests.

此外,大学提供的机会可以在确定合适方面发挥作用。我们在这里使用“机会”作为任何课外活动的全面术语,包括赛车,体育部门,志愿服务,社区伙伴关系,残疾支持计划等,由您的孩子可能对或热衷的学校提供​​。

Your child should do research on the acceptance rates associated with each major or program at their schools of choice. TheNiche College Admissions Calculator是一个非常有用的工具,可帮助您的孩子做出有关主要选择的数据驱动决定。也就是说,您的孩子的主要选择应该与他们在高中时期所表现出的兴趣一致。大学招生委员会将通过尝试游戏的尝试,例如试图进入俄罗斯文学专业,以享受更高的接受率,而不会在高中期间对该学科表现出任何兴趣。

(建议阅读:Should I Apply to College as an Undecided Major?)

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Factor 3: Cost and financial aid

We’ve all heard aboutthe rising costs of attending college在美国和corresponding debt for many families that take years,sometimes decades, 付清。

According tothe College Board,自2010 - 2011年以来,2020-2021学年的大学成本在私人非营利性四年制大学中增长了18%,在公立四年制学院,在公立两年学院的16%,在调整后,公立两年学院的16%通货膨胀。

These increases brought current prices up to the following:

Tuition and fees:

  • 私人非营利组织四年:$ 37,650

  • Public four-year out-of-state: $27,020

  • 公共四年内:10,560美元

  • 公共两年:$ 3,770

Room and board:

  • Private nonprofit four-year: $13,120

  • Public four-year (in-state and out-of-state): $11,620

  • 公共两年:$ 9,080

Total:

  • Private nonprofit four-year: $50,770

  • Public four-year out-of-state: $38,280

  • Public four-year in-state: $22,180

  • 公共两年:$ 12,850

这些数字可以吓人,但they don’t tell the entire story. While public universities do indeed have much lower sticker prices, the most selective private colleges tend to have the highest endowments—in other words, they’re the wealthiest schools—thus allowing them tomeet the greatest percentage of financial needfor families. SomePublic Ivies, like the University of Michigan and UNC–Chapel Hill, also fall into this category with large endowments and generous financial aid.

In fact,most students will not have to pay the full listed prices of college tuition, room and board.Some of this amount will be covered via grants. The rest of it can be covered via loans, work, and scholarships.

Of course, your family may not qualify for need-based aid. If that’s the case, you may be more interested in colleges that offer merit-based aid. Keep in mind, however, that the most selective schools, like every Ivy League university, do not offer merit-based aid because all of their students are excellent academically.

关于经济援助的范围还有更多内容,这些经济援助范围不在本文的范围之内,但我们的目标是介绍大学成本景观,以便您可以识别出满足孩子学术目标的大学您家人的预算。

(建议阅读:The Ultimate Guide to Finding and Winning College Scholarships)

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因子4:位置和大小

It’s important for your child to consider where they’d like to spend four years of their late teens and early 20s.

生活质量对学生和他们的学术工作一样重要。因此,我们在帮助他们制定学校名单时向学生询问以下问题:

  • Do you want to attend school in a big city or rural area?

  • 您想住在寒冷的天气或温暖的天气环境中吗?

  • How near to your family do you want to be?

关于规模,如果学生的成员包括8,000名学生和30,000名学生,那么您孩子的大学经历可能会大不相同。While large colleges make efforts to have small class sizes for upper division courses, access to TAs, community building activities, honors colleges, and so on, your child may feel like “just a number” if a large school isn’t suited to them.

On the flip side, large colleges sometimes offer opportunities, such as robust athletic departments or prestigious research labs, that many smaller schools don’t. Moreover, your child will have access to a larger pool of students from which to make friends.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to location and class size, but we encourage your family to have honest conversations about your child’s location and size preferences.

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Factor 5: Prestige

在过去的几年中,我们注意到一种趋势,教师,辅导员和大学招生顾问强调参加“合适的合适”而不是“最好的”的大学的重要性。不幸的是,如果他们的孩子没有进入他们的最佳选择,这似乎是一种遏制家庭失望的方式。

我们质疑为什么“合适的合适”和“最佳”被互斥。我们相信您的孩子可以打算进入最好的学校合适的。

参加美国顶级大学有优势:更高的收入潜力,可能更强大的校友网络,您的孩子的简历上有力的品牌名称以及建立家庭遗产的机会。

While prestige isn’t everything, there’s a reason why certain schools receive disproportionately larger numbers of applications relative to others. It’s not just the quality of education that compels so many to apply; it’s also concerns over how others will perceive their degree and the sense of achievements that comes with getting in—and graduating from—an elite school.

Final thoughts

When creating your child’s college list, plan to dedicate ample time to researching what schools among the thousands out there fit your child’s academic stats, their scholarly and extracurricular interests, and their preferences in regard to location, size, culture, and prestige. Additionally, it’s important to understand not just what each school costs, but also what financial aid it tends to offer students and how that aligns with your family’s financial resources.

By gathering this information, you’ll be able to take a data-driven approach that ensures that your child’s college list not only has a balanced range of reach, target, and safety schools—but also that every school your child applies to is one that they would be delighted to attend. Putting thought and care into their college list will increase the odds that, no matter what, your child will be able to enroll at a school that’s a terrific fit for them.

关于the Author

Shirag Shemmassian博士是Shemmassian学术咨询公司金宝搏官网的创始人,也是世界上最重要的大学入学专家之一。在将近20年的时间里,他和他的团队一直帮助成千上万的学生使用他的独家方法进入哈佛,斯坦福大学和麻省理工学院等顶级课程。

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Appendix: College search tools

Books

Websites

  • 大学倒计时: Online version of the Fiske Guide

  • 大学Raptor:确定大学并提供被录取的百分比

  • CollegeXpress: Identifies colleges and scholarships based on interests

  • Unigo:各学院的学生评论

  • : Ranked list of “best colleges for your money”


THERE'S NO REASON TO STRUGGLE THROUGH THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS ALONE, ESPECIALLY WITH SO MUCH ON THE LINE. SCHEDULE YOUR COMPLIMENTARY 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION TO ENSURE YOU LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE.

2 Comments

Shemmassian博士

Shirag Shemmassian博士是Shemmassian学术咨询公司的创始金宝搏官网人,也是大学录取,医学院招生和研究生院招生的著名专家。在过去的15年中,他和他的团队帮助成千上万的学生进入了精英机构。