Building Your College List

When you’re applying to college, building a list of programs that interest you is essential. Knowing where to begin can be the hardest part, to be honest. With so many opinions flying around you, “Go here”, “Do this”, “They haven’t won a championship game in 12 years”, it can be so overwhelming to even know what it is you want in a college experience.

HERE’S YOUR REMINDER, FRIEND: This is YOUR education and YOUR choice on what’s going to be the right move for you. There are plenty of options out there for everyone, and not every campus is the same. Take some notes on some important guides to keep your mind in the right place as you build your dream college list.

Nail down your numbers

You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you know exactly where you stand. You won’t be surprised by what’s possible—or what isn’t—and it will help you make sure that the things that are most important. You know that test score and GPA is going to be a factor, so be realistic in your hunt when looking at requirements at different campuses.

Weigh those priorities!

What’s important to you? Is it a social scene? Location by city? Interested in the top STEM program in the Northwestern US? SO many things to consider when picking the next step in your life! Write a list from 1-10 on what factors play a part in choosing the right school. You’ll be surprised at what takes the top of the list!

Know yourself and your situation

Self-exploration and self-reflection are critical to knowing your unique personal situation. Start by owning your personal ambitions and build a roadmap for how to get there. What interests you? Which subject inspires you? What problem in the world do you want to help solve? If you don’t know what profession interests you, that is okay! There are college programs set up to help you explore that. Clarifying your career goals and interests will help you select schools that can support you the way you need.

Identify your support circle

Friend, you can’t possibly do this alone! Whether you know it or not, you have people who are cheering you on and ready to see you win. These same people can offer motivation, wisdom, and advice. You can turn to family, friends, coaches, teachers, counselors, and peers for guidance! Never forget though: This is your journey. A strong support system can serve as a board as you continue to unpack your priorities, make decisions, and plan for life after high school.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will anyone else?

So here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to take some time to reflect on where we are right now, what our priorities are and how much support we have in our lives—and then we’re going to decide together where we want to go from there. Cheering you on from Encourage – you got this!