Still Figuring Out What School to Apply To?

September 12, 2018

The school year is already in full swing. What if you’re a senior who hasn’t yet decided on a final college list? Don’t panic. Let’s get started.

If you’re a Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior, the school year is more straightforward to you. However, if you’re a senior planning on applying to college this year, you probably already started on college applications are at least game plan for the application process. 

Pause for moment of panic for those who still don’t have a target school in mind.

If you haven’t begun to put together a list of schools to apply to, it’s not too late. While you might be scrambling to make the early action and early decision deadlines, regular decision applications usually aren’t due until December or January! If you are still looking for schools to add to your list, follow these steps: Ask yourself…

1. What is it in college that I really want to experience – both academically and personally?

College is about what you make of it. However, some schools are more well known for certain areas of study or specific programs. For example, if you are interested in engineering, a large research school might be more appealing to you than a smaller one. On the contrary, if you like the small school setting, small liberal arts colleges may be the way to go.

2. Do you want to stay home or go away?

This one question can help you eliminate a bunch of potential schools from your list. If you are willing to go to college away from home, narrow down your list to include schools that reflect those locations of choice. If, on the other hand, you want to stay near home, check out your state schools. As a senior, this is a good time to do a gut check for whether you are more anxious about changing your surrounding environment next year or itching to experience something new.

3. What is your estimated cost?

The answer to this question is and can be highly varied, so it’s important that you don’t use this question as your only means of deciding where to attend. While looking at potential schools to apply to, you probably see large tuition numbers ranging from $10,000 to even $50,000. While these costs are obviously high, don’t select a school based on estimated costs for now. The reason being that in the case you get accepted to a school with a large estimated cost of of attendance, it’s likely that they offer generous financial aid packages making it affordable to attend. 

Instead, check out the financial aid packages that are generally offered to students and see if they are within reason of your family’s budget. If you are academically competitive, merit scholarships may be on the table as well.

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While these questions are just to get you started, keep digging around to find the school perfect for you! Wherever you apply to, make sure that it’s a school you can see yourself for the next four years! Application deadlines are fast approaching, but if you plan accordingly and manage the remaining time you have, you can still get it done – and done well!

About The Author

The College Essayist, Guest Blogger
The College Essayist, Guest Blogger

We’re The College Essayist, a free student-run global college access organization on a mission to democratize access to higher education. We’re a group of high school students and undergraduates who are here to help you rock high school, annihilate college admissions, and conquer the college years and beyond through online resources, services, and informative (read: informal, awesome, and rad) articles. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or tumble on over with us on Tumblr.




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alm25
UT Austin ‘19


Accepted to UC Berkeley, USC, UMich, Illinois, UT Austin, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSD, UCSB, U of Minnesota, Arizona, WVU, Cal Poly, San Jose State

I'm from the SF Bay Area, but I'm betraying my roots by attending The University of Texas at Austin as a chemical engineering major. I like music, science and eating!
uhoh29
JHU ‘19


Accepted to JHU, Cornell, Northeastern, Fordham, UMD, Wisconsin, Temple

Senior Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins majoring in English and Writing Seminars
Bhenrique
UC Berkeley ‘19


Accepted to UC Berkeley, Penn State, Colorado, UCLA, NYU

Passionate about Education. Lover of all things science!
littlegreentre…
Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, Brown, UPenn, Columbia, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Swarthmore, Barnard, Wellesley, Duke, NYU, BU

overly ambitious, passionately curious, helplessly perfectionistic

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