Once you’ve completed all your college visits, it’s time for your child to decide where to apply for college. To do this, your child will need to re-rank their preferences based on what they learned during your visits. Then, you’ll need to help them decide how many of their favorites they want to apply to.
Here are some criteria to consider:
- Quality of desired degree program
- Reputation of school
- Overall yearly cost
- Scholarship/financial aid availability and qualifications
- Appeal of location
- Proximity to home
- General personality of student body
- First impression during campus visit
- Lasting impression from visit
Additionally, you should consider the competitiveness of each college’s admissions. Colleges with very low admissions rates—like Ivy League colleges—routinely reject even the most qualified students. So it’s best not to have an entire list made up of highly competitive schools, unless those are the only schools you and your child believe are worth pursuing.
Many high school students include what’s known as a “safety school” on their list. This is a school that is very likely to admit the student, providing the student with a backup option in case their top choices reject them. However, if you do add a safety school to your child’s list, make sure it still scores well given their criteria. There’s no point in your child applying to or attending a college that isn’t a good fit for them and their goals.