It is Never Too Early to Create a College List

February 21st, 2013, 1:15pm, Topics: juniors, college list, collegiate experience, college search, college board, academics

Many college admissions experts consider the fall semester of students' senior year to be the ideal time for finalizing the list of colleges they want apply to. While it is always a good idea for individuals to look over their college list around this time, there is no rule that says they cannot put the finishing touches on this document a lot earlier.

In a recent article for The Huffington Post, Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz, the founder of adMISSION POSSIBLE, a company that provides advice on the college admissions process, wrote that now is a good time for high school juniors to organize their college list. As a result, prospective bachelor's degree seekers may want to follow a few of these tips and create a college list they feel comfortable with:

Get to Know Yourself 

According to Hansen Shaevitz, not many students know how to put together a college list featuring schools that are a good match for them, both academically and personally. To overcome this hurdle, she advises individuals to figure out what they want out of their collegiate experience.

The College Board offers similar advice, and suggests students ask themselves a series of questions that can help them get to know themselves a little better. For example, they should think about what their interests are, where their passions lie and what they want to do with the rest of their life.

Find the Right Colleges

Once students have a better sense of their personality, likes and dislikes, Hansen Shaevitz recommends they input information on their school preferences, as well as their GPA and test scores, into College Board's Big Future College Search, which is available online.

Using the data students input, they will receive a list of institutions that match their criteria from a database of 3,991 college options, according to the College Board's website.

Research Each College to Narrow Down the List

Just because students receive a list from the College Board does not mean their work is finished. Hansen Shaevitz advises them to research each institution and weed out any options they do not feel suit their needs.

When students are finished researching, they should arrange their schools according to the likelihood they will be accepted. It may take a little longer to figure out which colleges are considered safety schools and reaches, but this will allow students to see if their reaches outnumber the schools they feel more confident about.