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Windbourne College Consulting

Tips And Tricks: Your Ideal College List

Your family may be feeling very out of balance right now as we all try to get back to “normal” in our post-pandemic world. Things are picking up, your high schooler is busier than ever, and soon you’ll have to start thinking about college applications! The pressure is on to squeeze in family time, schedule more college tours, and log more volunteer hours – all while figuring out which colleges are a good option for your teen. Then you’ll have to figure out how to complete the applications and essays in time. How do you get started?

How College Admissions Has Changed

The college admissions landscape has changed so much over the years that the days of a “safety” school are gone. It’s super competitive, and there is no guarantee that the type of student a college is looking for will be the same from year to year. But don’t despair! The good news is that most colleges still accept a large percentage of their applicants – you just need to be strategic to maximize your choices. 

Finding the Right College Fit With Your Student

First, you’ll need to define what schools best fit your student’s interests and goals, and there just isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach to this one. It’s fine to peruse the “Top 10” college lists, but these rankings are suspect for a variety of reasons. The question you need to ask about these lists is, “the ten best colleges for who?” We all know that no two teenagers are the same, so why would we think one college could be the best for all of them? 

Creating a Balanced College List for Your Student 

A balanced list begins by identifying your teen’s strengths and interests. The trick is to create a list of target schools that fits academically, socially, culturally, and financially. Questions to ask can include:

  • Where do they want to live? 
  • What are their academic interests? 
  • Do they want to be a “big fish in a little pond?” 
  • Do they want to attend the giant football games on Friday nights and cheer on the team? 
  • Are there affordable options out of state?
  • Would they rather explore a new city or explore the great outdoors on the weekends?

These things are all important, and every teen might weigh them differently. If your teen has no idea how to answer these questions, take time to use the multitude of research tools and tour a college campus or two. Thanks to COVID-19, many tours can now be conducted online, but it’s ideal to visit in-person to really get a feel for the campus. There is even value in visiting schools that aren’t on your student’s list – every college campus will help you and your teen decide what they are looking for in a college experience. 

Creating a balanced list means your teen will be applying to schools with a range of selectivity, but it will also be a list of schools that they’re excited about and where they will thrive.  

Windbourne College Consulting is here to help you through your family’s college search and bring some balance back into your life! Reach out today so we can help you create your teen’s college list – then we’ll get ready to apply! 

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