Some things to keep in mind:
- Just because a school is considered one of the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. Many students practically kill themselves to get into an Ivy League school, then once they’re there, struggle to keep their heads above water for the next four years. There are plenty of other well-respected schools that will provide am equally great education and allow you to thrive.
- You might want the school spirit and atmosphere that goes along with attending UCLA, but are you really prepared to get lost in the crowd? Make sure you understand your strengths and weaknesses before applying to large state schools — do you learn better by asking questions or by listening? Do you prefer to discuss ideas or memorize them?
- Consider how much access to a big city matter to you. Do you crave the hustle and bustle, or are you satisfied if there’s a grocery store and a movie theater within a half hour drive?
- If you know you want to be a physical therapist, make sure you are applying to schools that have related programs, but also be sure not to limit yourself. More than 80% of college students change their major at least once, so don’t pick a school that only offers a couple respected programs.
- Be willing to venture outside of your comfort zone — just because you’re a Californian doesn’t mean you can’t handle snow. Consider schools that perhaps aren’t what you’ve always pictured.
- Be realistic about your list of schools. We always encourage students to apply to their dream schools — after all, you never know — but you’ll still want an equal number of safety schools to balance your list.
If you’d like to learn more about certain schools, check out our college podcast library; our interns interview returning college students each summer to get the dirt on life at their particular university. This is also a great resource when it comes time to write your college essays about why you want to attend — you’ll need to be specific, and these students will tell you about the ins and outs!