By Kristina Dooley, M.A. Choosing a College! Summer is over which means one thing for high school seniors: it’s application time. But, before you can start filling out forms and writing essays, you have the daunting task of determining your “List.” The List will consume your every thought because not only are you concerned about which schools have made the cut, everyone in your life wants to know what schools are on it too! By now you’ve probably researched and visited several schools, now it’s time to choose those at which you can see yourself for the next four years. There are many basic factors to that you’ve probably already considered such as geography, size, and majors. Here are a few other areas to consider that will help you narrow your list: Check Out Alumni Outcomes Are alumni professions diverse or does the school seem to funnel graduates into a certain niche field? Is the career you aspire to accessible with a degree from this university? Does the Office of Admission have any alumni whom you can contact? Check Out Your (Possible) Peers Technology has created an opportunity for future students of any college to communicate online using social networking sites. Do you want to go where everyone has the same interests and personal philosophy as you, or are looking for a variety of outlooks on life? Take a look at whom else is considering the school…can you see them as your peers? Check Out School Stats How many students transfer after their freshman year at the university? Have you looked at campus crime statistics and are you comfortable with the results? Check Out How the School Communicates With You Now Have you felt the Admission Staff has been responsive to questions you have had so far? Do you get a timely response to emails, phone calls, or other requests? How you are treated during this time in your search can be indicative of how the staff (faculty, dorm staff, etc.) will be toward you as a student…does their style work for you at this point? Once you’ve considered all of these points, you should be able to finalize a manageable list of prospective schools to which you’ll apply. The actual number of schools can vary by student though generally your list should be anywhere from five to eight schools. Remember: the more thorough your narrowing down process is, the more likely your final list will be full of appropriate matches. Save yourself time and application fees by doing your research first!