Creating a Balanced College List
Previously, we looked at how students can use some of the criteria that they are looking for in their reach schools to choose target and likely schools that they would be equally excited to attend. There is no one right school for anyone! One of the most important parts of the college admissions process is understanding what you want in a college, and then conducting the proper research to identify several schools that will be a good match. For example…
If you want to go to Brown (acceptance rate 8.7%) because of the open curriculum, there are many other colleges that don’t have a required core. Amherst College (acceptance rate 12.8%), a liberal arts college in Amherst, MA allows students to design their own curriculum in more than 36 fields of study, with no core or general education requirements. Similarly, at Wesleyan University (acceptance rate 23.6%) located in Middletown, CT, students can self-direct a curriculum in any of 40 departments and 47 majors. At Grinnell College (acceptance rate 44.3%) in Grinnell, IA, students can pursue a degree in 26 major fields or an independent major with no core requirements (and have the added bonus of a 365-acre environmental research area).
If you want to go to Dartmouth (acceptance rate 9.7%) to experience Greek life, look at the many campuses across the country with an active participation in fraternities and sororities. For example, at Vanderbilt University (acceptance rate 15.5%) in Nashville, TN, 35% of male students and 50% of female students participate in the school’s 22 fraternities and 15 sororities. Bucknell University (acceptance rate 27.2%) in Lewisberg, PA, Wake Forest University (acceptance rate 40%) in Winston-Salem, NC, and DePauw University (acceptance rate 57%) in Greencastle, IN have similarly prevalent Greek scenes.
If you want to go to Columbia (acceptance rate 6.9%) because you love the city vibe but want a traditional campus, look at some of the other schools that have the best of both worlds. The University of Chicago (acceptance rate 15.8%) has a 211-acre campus that includes traditional quads and gothic architecture yet is only seven miles from downtown. American University (acceptance rate 41.4%) in Washington, DC has a contained campus yet is a mere 15 minute Metro ride from the hub of the nation’s capital. Emory University (acceptance rate 25.9%) in Atlanta, GA is composed of 630 acres including the Michael C. Carlos art museum, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and the Lullwater Preserve.
If you want to go to Princeton (acceptance rate 8.4%) because of the University Art Museum (home to more than 72,000 works of art), there are many colleges with impressive art collections. Oberlin College (acceptance rate 29.7%) in Oberlin, OH is home to the Allen Memorial Art Museum. Recently renovated, the museum houses a strong collection of European, American, Asian, African, South American, and ancient art. The Colby College (acceptance rate 29.1%) Museum of Art in Waterville, ME, hosts a comprehensive collection of American and contemporary art. The University of Michigan’s (acceptance rate 50.6%) Museum of Art (UMMA), at 94,000 square feet, is one of the largest university art museums in the country.
IvyWise counselors love working with students to find the schools where they will be happy and successful, especially schools a student may not have heard of or that wasn’t originally on a student’s radar. As a student, the college application process is a great time for you to learn more about yourself. Keep an open mind. In doing so, you can better identify the schools where you will thrive academically and socially.