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4 P's of College List Building

Rising seniors: it's time to build your college list.

Before July is over, you should have an idea of which colleges interest you most. The goal is to narrow down the list of over 3.000 possible colleges into a manageable chunk of 10-15 where you will ultimately apply.

It's not an easy task. But not impossible when you use these 4 P's of College List Building:

Place: First and foremost, consider where you want to be for your college years. Do you want to be in a city? Far from home? Near internship opportunities? Other? Once you determine where you would like to study, make a list of all of the schools in that area.

People: Ask yourself, "What kind of people do I want to be around in college?" Consider if you want to be with other like-minded people or maybe you want to explore something more diverse. Do you want to be with people who share your interests? Or do you want to discover new people? If you can identify what kind of people you hope to meet or work with, write down the colleges that would provide the type of community you seek.

Purpose: Do you have a major in mind? A career goal? Something you want to do with your extracurricular pursuits? Think about what things you want to do in college and create a list of colleges that would match your purpose.

Price: How important is affordability for you? If money is no object, you can ignore this P. However, if you are seeking affordable options then make a list of schools are generous with merit-based aid. Add public schools or in-state options. Or put a plan together to do two years at a community college so that you can transfer to a four-year school.

If you do the above, you should have four different lists for each P. If you place these lists into a Venn Diagram, then the intersection of these lists should give you a great start to what schools could be good fits for you.

And if have already created a list, make sure each school on your list matches at least one of the 4 Ps above.

Lists are key and hopefully as the calendar turns to August, you have a list of exciting options. O

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