Welcome to the fall! This is the height of college application season, so we want to share some easily digestible guidance around crucial elements of the application process. First things first…finalize your college list!

Many seniors are hard at work on their personal statements, studying for standardized tests and filling out their Common Applications. However, in order to “apply to college,” you have to know which colleges you want to attend. How can you figure that out while creating a balanced list? 

Make sure colleges have the right academic programs for you. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to know right now that you want to go into electrical engineering or that you’re going to be a history teacher. However, if you’re interested in creative writing, make sure the school you’re looking at offers that major.

Check extracurricular opportunities. Maybe you want to play club basketball or act in plays without majoring in theater, or you can’t wait to join a sorority. You won’t be able to do any of those things if your colleges don’t offer them.

Evaluate the campus vibes. Finding out if you’ll fit in on campus can be tough. Most information in the first two tips is easily accessed on a school’s website or with a quick email to the college admissions office.  While visiting a campus is helpful, you often can’t visit every campus in person. This is where you can turn to places like a virtual campus tour. Another option is asking an admissions office to put you in touch with a student you could talk to about student life. You can always just go straight to the source!

Here at APH, we currently have over 60 college representatives scheduled to visit our beautiful campus between now and the middle of November. 

— Carter Delloro, Director of College Counseling, APH

Meet with college reps that visit your school! These are often the individuals who will read your application, so it can be great for them to put a face to the application they’ll see later in the year. They also have a ton of info about what campus life is actually like, which is important if you’re trying to get a sense of which place might be right for you. Here at APH, we currently have over 60 college representatives scheduled to visit our beautiful campus between now and the middle of November. 

Balance your list. You want to be sure you’ve identified some reach/dream schools that you can shoot for and schools you’d be happy to attend. The college admissions process can be unpredictable, so craft a final list of 8-10 applications. Then, you can better categorize your options based on admission offers, financial aid packages and scholarship opportunities.

Visit your College Counselor. If you don’t know where to begin, reach out to your college counselor or guidance office. They’ll be happy to provide a list of schools to check out based on what you’re looking for. 

Carter Delloro is the Director of College Counseling for The Academy at Penguin Hall. For more information about our College Counseling program, click below.