Listen to How to Make a College List from the College Radar Podcast.



In today's episode of the College Radar Podcast, Tom Rose, CEO of Testive, talks about how to decide where to apply to college.

Here are some college characteristics to help make a choice: average GPA and SAT score, size of the student body, coursework, location, cost, and fit. 

Don't worry about catching every detail; reference the bullet points below!  

 

Bullet points

When making a college list, think about these characteristics:

Size

How many students attend this college?

There is a discernable difference in feel between colleges like University of Wisconsin- Madison and a colleges like Sarah Lawrence College. Part of the reason these two schools feel so different is size. Tom recommends stepping foot on both types of campus: large and small.

Distance from home

Can I drive home for Thanksgiving?

The distance between campus and home might feel like just a matter of travel expenses. However, relocating to a new region of the country for four years means starting a network somewhere new. 

Coursework

Does this college offer the right classes?

This factor in choosing a college seems straightforward; students should go somewhere that offers the right academic programs for them.

For students who know what they want to study, this is likely an easy requirement to check off in their college search. For students who don't, however, Tom recommends attending a large college that offers a variety of coursework. 

Cost

How much does it cost to attend this college?

Tom recommends two actions to ensure that limitations of cost are appreciated in a college search:

1. Students and parents have a conversation about what colleges their family can afford before making a list of schools to apply to.

2. Families consider in-state college as a default top choice. 

Fit

Do I like this school?

This is the most important question to answer when deciding what college to ultimately attend. And it can't be answered with data or from a Google search result. As students walk through campus on a college tour, they'll ultimately think, "hey, I like it here" or "you know what, I don't like it here." Tom urges families to trust that instinct.