Class of 2020

Which College is Right for Me?

Go from 4,500 colleges to 15 with these 5 questions

For most, the college search is overwhelming with over 4,500 degree-granting college and universities in the United States! Last month you worked on college majors to consider, now begin to narrow your search by finding the colleges that have a strong program for your prospective major. This month, refine your college list to a manageable 15.

This month, learn: 

  • 5 questions to discover the right colleges and universities for you
  • How to create a college list
  • Tool to explore colleges and universities

2018 Newsletter Archive

What You Should Do NOW:

Research Different Colleges and Universities 

Last month, we talked about exploring majors. Now that you have an idea of what major you might want to pursue, you can start researching different colleges. With over 4,500 degree-granting college and universities in the United States, you can start to narrow your search by only including colleges that have a strong program for your prospective major.


  1. Location?
    Do you want to attend a school close to home?
    Do you want to live in a big city, or is a small town more appealing?
    Is there a certain part of the country where you’d like to live?

  2. Size?
    Do you prefer a more intimate atmosphere or more anonymity?
    Would you enjoy larger facilities, more programs, and a greater range of extracurricular activities?
    Or more discussion-based classes, a greater chance of participation, and less distance between you and professors?

  3. Cost of attendance?
    What is the cost posted on the college or university website or materials?
    What scholarships and financial aid options does the college provide?
    Will you receive any help paying for college?

  4. Extracurricular Activities?
    Is there a specific activity you’d like to explore in college?
    Which colleges offer clubs or organizations of interest to you?

  5. Admission difficulty?
    When comparing yourself to your graduating high school class, how do you rank?
    Do you think you’d be able to get into a selective college?

As you think about these aspects, identify the one that is your highest priority, and use it to refine the amount of colleges on your list. For example, if staying close to home is the most important thing to you, only search for colleges near you and discount the others.

If you find that more than 20 colleges align with your highest priority, move to the second-most-important priority. For example, if you find multiple colleges with great programs for your major, and you know being at a large school is the second-highest priority, you can eliminate smaller colleges from your list.

Keep going until you have 8-15 colleges you really want to spend time researching.


Use this tool to begin creating a college list!

The type of colleges you consider will depend on your goals and expectations.

Having a college list at this point in your high school career will save you time later on and will get you excited about the opportunities after graduation!


Need more help exploring colleges?

Create an account and let our school search tool do the work for you by automatically filtering colleges based on your goals and preferences.