Ranking colleges for the College Match process was one of the most exciting yet scary parts of the Match application. The excitement came from the sheer joy of being able to make that decision, however, the decision itself was scary because it made going to college seem like more of a reality. With the reality of this situation, I had to put serious thought into which colleges I would be choosing. The first thing that I did was decide what factors about college were most important to me. For me, location was a huge factor, but these factors are not limited to proximity to home, they can also be quality of academics, size, type, and available majors. In my circumstance, I knew that considering an Ivy League and possibly being accepted to one was a long time goal of mine. Likewise, I encourage all other applicants to consider their previous goals when ranking colleges; QuestBridge can make those goals more achievable.
Once I decided on location and type of school, my choices were narrowed considerably. At this point I used the tons of mail I received from colleges (credits to QuestBridge for allowing that your name to be sent to partner schools). I used a program available through the College Board that my high school counselor introduced me to. The program was through Big Future and allows students to compare three colleges side by side including location, type, and campus life. Additionally, the catalogues and pamphlets I received from universities like Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale, were helpful in letting me see what each school had to offer. I was provided insight to the various programs as well as student social life on campus, not to mention the type of food each dining hall had, far better than that served in high school. However, while looking at these pamphlets, it was important to remember that they were advertising the colleges, and just like any good advertisement, it leaves you wanting more.
I think an important part about deciding which colleges to rank was keeping a balance between an open mind to consider places you hadn’t before, but to also keep sight of factors that were most important to you. And with that advice, though the ranking process won’t be easy, I hope it makes this decision a little less scary.