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  • Writer's pictureMarcia Farias

How do I create a good college list?

Updated: May 13, 2021


Are you a rising Junior?

Você está no segundo ano do ensino médio?

If you haven't already started your college list, it is probably a good idea to start thinking about it.


Because college applications become available at the beginning of Senior year, you should have your list ready by then - although you can certainly add or drop schools as you go along.


Having a game plan really helps minimize stress.


If you start thinking about realistic possibilities during your Junior year, you allow yourself time to research universities, watch videos, participate in college fairs and admissions sessions and tour universities, either in person or online.

You can reach out to students who are a year ahead and ask them about their impressions as they do their research, or to students who have already graduated and may be able to help answer some of your questions.


It is even more important to start your research early if you are considering applying in more than one country, and need to check out all the different programs and admissions requirements.


In short - time is on your side, and not against you.


Here are some basic tips to creating the perfect college list:

  1. Balance - your list should contain schools you believe you will be admitted to, and those in which you have at least a slight chance of getting in. In college admissions lingo, we advise lists to be formed of reach, target and likely schools, and these names can vary, but you should aim for a list that is balanced in terms of your personal admissions chances.

  2. Fit - your list should be, well... your list. You should not just apply to colleges where everyone else you know is applying; do your own research, according to your personal preferences and your academic, social and financial profile.

  • academic fit includes what you want to study and what your admissions chances are, based on academic requirements;

  • social fit relates to the college culture, as well as geographic culture - after all, no campus is a bubble, and the relationship between university and community should always be a strong one. Consider your personality and values and what defines you, and start from there.

  • financial fit means exactly that: can you afford to attend? Of course you can and should apply to scholarships based on financial need and on merit, but be advised that, in general, financial aid for international students is not equivalent to full financial need being met, although this is true of need-blind institutions.

3. After these considerations, think of what else matters to you. For example, extracurricular activities, social life, climate, size of international student body, student to faculty ratio etc.


Do your homework and ask for help when you need it. A solid college list is a relevant step towards a great adventure - your path to college!

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