College Counseling Resources

How to Build Your College List

Set a goal of six to eight college applications. College applications can be a lot to manage in terms of essays and other various requirements such as recommendation letters and self-reported transcripts. In addition, completing the application is just one step in the process. After submission, students will very likely have other scholarship applications to complete for each university. Therefore it is best to keep the college list between six and eight schools.

Building the college list can be a bit tricky. There are thousands of colleges and universities out there each offering students a different experience. Geneva’s philosophy is “best college fit.” Meaning that a family’s and student’s personal circumstances and desires play a unique role in selecting the colleges on their list. Below are different criteria that are most often taken into account when families are considering which colleges best fit their child.

  • Financial: The cost of college can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. In-state, out-of-state, private, public, and strength of applicant (mainly test scores and transcript/GPA) are four big ones. It’s perfectly fine to apply to a few pricey private schools as most of them will offer generous scholarship packages; however, it is also best to mix in a couple of in-state public schools as financial back-ups.
  • Geographical: Does the student prefer the mountains, beaches, big city, rural environment, or perhaps a big sports school? How about a preference on weather? Also, how far away from home works for everyone? Would they like to be a relatively short drive from home in the event they wish to return for the weekend, or do they intend to be so far away that they will fly? How long does the commute take from the nearest airport and how long is the flight home? Again, all of these things should be considered and researched when looking at schools.
  • Academic: Does the institution have the major the student is looking for or do they have a number of majors that interest them? Universities are made up of small colleges, so when researching universities, look to see what colleges they offer (e.g., college of business, engineering, psychology, arts and sciences). Then look at the breakdown of majors that are offered.
  • Spiritual: Maybe a student specifically wants to go to a Christian college or possibly a college that represents a specific denomination. Maybe they want neither. It’s their choice.
  • Size: There are schools that have an undergraduate population of 500 or so and there are schools that exceed 50,000. There is also everything in between! If small classes and relationships with professors are at the top of a student’s list, then something on the small side, maybe around 5,000 undergraduate students, is more of what they are looking for.

College Search Resources

  • SCOIR: Students are encouraged to use their personal SCOIR accounts to search for, research, and build their college list.
  • bigfuture.collegeboard.org: A free online college planning guide.
  • blog.prepscholar.com: College planning articles on just about every topic imaginable.
  • niche.com: College search engine in addition to college rankings list and scholarships.
  • youvisit.com: Virtual college tours.
  • collegemajors101.com: Free resource to learn about college majors.
  • myintuition.org: An online tool that shows the projected cost of college once financial aid is factored in, helping students understand and plan for what college will actually cost.

The High School Resume

Colleges and universities are interested in knowing how an applicant spent their time and energy outside of the classroom for the four years they spent in high school. While not all colleges require or even accept a resume, it is simply better to have one and not need it versus need it and not have it. Seniors have enough going on during their final year of high school; the last thing a student wants to do is to create this document from scratch. Students may use Canva.com (search high school resume template) to create a resume. While creating and updating a resume throughout the four years of high school is ideal, the goal should be to complete this during the rising-senior summer before the senior year begins. It also comes in handy when applying for additional scholarships and other college programs such as honor colleges.

The Geneva School
The Geneva School
June 24, 2024
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June 26, 2024
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June 24, 2024
  • Summer Camps (Week 4)

    Date: June 24, 2024 - June 28, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
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June 25, 2024
  • Summer Camps (Week 4)

    Date: June 24, 2024 - June 28, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
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June 26, 2024
  • Summer Camps (Week 4)

    Date: June 24, 2024 - June 28, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
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