Building your College List


Chrishael Sanchez (11th), Reporter

Beginning to create your college list may be confusing and overwhelming for many high school students. The best way to build your college list is through extensive research. College research starts with yourself!

Compile a list about what you want and/or expect from your future college. A good place to start is considering what location, major, extracurriculars, athletics, student population, and teacher ratio. Creating this catalog of desires takes time; don’t rush this process! Add and delete as you discover who you are. While looking through potential colleges, keep this list close while you research.

Create a big college list. Some good resources you may utilize is your school college counselor and credible online college search tools

After this, you narrow down your college list. Do more research! The key is to keep notes. You’ll discover more about certain colleges that will make you like them more or less. Remember to keep your personal list in mind. There are a variety of ways you can acquire more information: reviewing college websites, attend college fairs/presentations and speak to admissions representatives, contact admissions officers, talk to current students, and more!

Once you have your list ready, it is time to categorize your colleges. Most experts recommend having about six to ten colleges. This ranges from safety, match, to reach schools.

A safety school is a college you will nearly certainly be admitted to. A match school is a college that you are likely to be admitted to. Reach schools are colleges that you have a slim chance of being admitted to. Only apply to the colleges that you can genuinely see yourself attending!

I interviewed a Pitman junior who preferred to remain anonymous regarding their college plans: “I’m considering going to a JC first because I personally feel like I need more time when it comes to stepping forward into my future career and I’m not fulling ready to head into four year when I’m still undecided. I’m still somewhat indecisive about the career I want. However, I’m considering criminal justice because I am fascinated with working with murder cases. I think it would be really interesting to be a private investigator or detective.”

Gaby Rabago, a student at Pitman High, speaks about her college plans: “I’m considering UC Davis, UC Merced and MJC; I wanted to have a spread from most competitive to least, having a more viable option accompanied by choices I know to be more secure. Overall picking a college was a process of finding whether they had a good science program, which I knew was the field I wanted to go in. I think that it’s definitely an inner battle when it comes to picking your “dream schools”. We are constantly told to be realistic and that putting yourself in debt is the worst thing you could do, but also to “dream big” and take risks. For me it’s a principle of finding a healthy balance of fitting my needs for education, while also not breaking the bank.”

Choosing a college that is the right fit for you is vital in enjoying the experience and a crucial step in your career path. The most important thing to consider is if the school has your study program. Choose a college that you will be successful at and enjoy yourself.