GPA & Test Scores: Are your GPA and test scores in the middle 50th percentile?
Admissions Requirements: Does the college require 2, 3, or 4 years of a language, a year of art, AP Physics C, or Calculus?
Major/Curriculum: Does the college offer your major? Do they offer courses you find interesting?
Acceptance Rates: What are your chances of admission?
Rankings: While college counselors dismiss rankings, most parents do not.
Cost, Scholarships, Financial Aid: Complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile (if necessary). Note: Private colleges often give scholarships, making the actual price less than public universities.
Reach-Target-Safety: Your college list should include dream schools, but also those where you have a higher probability of admission.
Early Decision/Early Action: (1) Not all schools have ED or EA. (2) You can only apply to one ED (it’s binding). (3) ED acceptance rates are significantly higher. (4) ED/EA admit/deny/waitlist much sooner.
Holistic Review: Some colleges consider the whole student and their accomplishments (resume, portfolio, video intro) while others only consider transcripts and test scores.
Admissions Interviews: Some interview signups are on the college website. Other colleges contact students after they apply. Preparation helps.
School Activities: Does the college offer clubs, sports, music, art, theatre, films, newspapers, journals, traditions, outdoor activities, free tutoring, health support, etc.?
Sororities & Fraternities: Do you want the study group, social scene, and friendship circles of a house?
School Spirit & Dorm Life: Do you crave big-time sports, school spirit, and dorm activities that offer energy and connectedness?
Research: Does the college offer wet lab, clinical, computer, writing projects, and fieldwork to prepare you for graduate school?
Internship Opportunities: Does your program of interest offer internships, training, and job preparation skills?
Career Center: Are there career counselors? Do companies interview on campus?
Study Abroad: Almost all colleges offer study abroad with professors from other colleges but few host programs specifically for their students. Ask.
Chart Due Dates & Requirements: I highly recommend starting this ASAP.