Narrowing College Lists: Consider an Outside Perspective

When crafting your college list, you’re usually talking to people in your “inner circle” including your immediate family and your friends. However, when you’re narrowing down your school choices, you may want to go outside of this zone a little bit and consider some other perspectives. Here are some people you can talk to about your potential college choice that isn’t your mom or best friend.

Group of people working on a project

Current Students of the School

A great way to get an accurate picture of a school is to talk to a current student about it! Now, you don’t want to talk to a student who acts as a representative of the college – their approach will most likely be biased. Instead, you may want to try visiting the college and talking to a student who is sitting outside. Or you could find one on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and ask them if they have time to talk about their college of choice.

You should prepare a list of questions before you start the conversation. You’ll want to ask what they thought the school was before they attended, what they think of it now that they’re attending, and if they’re enjoying their time or regret their decision (and the whys). It could also be helpful if you find someone who is in your intended major.

Former Students of the School

Alumni are also a great option to talk to if you’re thinking about attending their school. You can ask them similar questions as you asked the current student, but you may also have an easier time finding someone who graduated from your major. You could talk to them about their job search after graduation, salary, and other general experiences they had over four years.

It’s a good idea to listen to their recommendations in regards to dorm rooms, campus life, clubs, professors, and school life in general.

Other Trusted Adults in Your Life

When you think about it, you have more than your parents who you trust in life. You probably have a favorite teacher, a community leader, a club organizer, or a counselor. You absolutely should go over your college choices with them.

In most cases, they know students who have already attended the colleges you’re thinking about. They may have heard back from those former students on their thoughts of the school once they got there and understand how they’re doing now that they have graduated. Many counselors and teachers even have connections with schools, and could give you inside information, including who to talk to about admissions or any questions you have about attending.

College Raptor’s Match Tool

Many students are comforted by facts and statistics. College Raptor’s match tool uses advanced AI technology to show students their match scores to colleges around the country. Additionally, you can compare true college costs, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid from the schools as well. Best of all: it’s free!

The Outside Perspective

It’s essential to go outside your comfort circle when it comes to college. Family and friends mean well, but their decisions can also be biased. For your friends, they may be inclined to push you towards a school that they’re attending. Or your parents may want you to go to a college very close to home or attend the university they attended. Both of these viewpoints can consciously and subconsciously affect your final decision. By talking to students of the college (former and current) and other adults in your life, you can get a more accurate picture of what you can expect and help ensure that your own goals align with your school of choice.


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