How Does Your College List Measure Up?

Learn how to create a balanced college list by focusing on likability, affordability and admissibility.
A high school student building their college list

As we continue to provide our families with timely and important information on the world of college admissions, I asked Myra Ross, College Advisor at Amherst Regional High School, to share the advice she gives to students on how to create a balanced college list.

"It is important for students to look for colleges with an eye toward likability, affordability and admissibility. The task often takes a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, too many students put in the time, but don't think about all of those factors together. The emphasis should be on creating a list that will produce several viable options in April.

To achieve this, it's important not only to find colleges that are a good fit for you academically and socially, which many students do well, but to select colleges at several levels of selectivity. It's also important to know what your family can afford, and, as much as possible, which colleges may be financially feasible given your circumstances. Use each college's Net Price Calculator to get some sense of what you may need to pay. Do not assume that colleges that seem similar will have similar financial aid policies. Some colleges use "preferential packaging," meaning that more academically qualified students may receive more aid than less qualified students who may have the exact same demonstrated need. Keep your grades up and prepare for your standardized tests. Every little bit matters."