School selection is the first and one of the most important steps in devising an effective college application strategy. You’ll have better application outcomes if you apply to schools that you are genuinely excited about the prospect of attending – and chances are you’ll also be happier in your college choice as well.

We asked Senior Consultant Dr. Cleo Leung what advice she had for high school students who are beginning the college search process.

“Some important factors to consider when choosing a college are: the size of the school, its distance from your home, whether you think you’ll be comfortable with the academic majors that are available, and what extracurricular activities are offered,” says Cleo.

“First, determine what size school you might be comfortable with. A campus visit may be the only way to really determine this.

“Also, determine whether you would like to be in an urban setting or in a small college town. That factor varies the college experience you will have as well. This, along with deciding what distance from home you’d be comfortable with, are some simple ways to start to narrow down your school choices.

“Next, examine the majors that are available. Be sure to choose a school that offers classes in all of the subject areas you are considering. The same goes for extracurriculars. Make sure a school has all of the options that you are considering participating in.

“One mistake I’ve seen students make is to simply choose a school because a friend loves it, a boyfriend/girlfriend attends it, etcetera. While these preferences can be a factor in your decision, you should make sure the school in question still meets your other criteria in terms of size, location, majors and activities. You want to make sure that your happiness at college does not depend solely on having a particular friend available to help you make the transition from home to college.”

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