Quora pixel
How to start shortlisting colleges for future application
How to start shortlisting colleges for future application


“How to start shortlisting colleges for future application”

How to start shortlisting colleges for future application

As you prepare for the next phase of your academic life, you have a lot on your mind and much to decide. The college you choose will be an important stepping stone not only for your career aspirations but also for an enriching personal experience. Hence your prep time is crucial — it’s imperative you jot down your interests, likes, dislikes, career goals, academic proclivity, strengths and weaknesses to accordingly select your dream college. Here are some parameters to focus on:

Start early Ideally you must start 3 to 4 years prior to application, as this would allow you sufficient time to understand the process, look up institutions from across the globe, build the appropriate profile, target the right fit colleges and programs and be finacially prepared. In addition to your grades, universities abroad evaluate your college readiness through other benchmarks including standardised test scores, record of extra-curricular activities and work history.

Identify your reasons Every candidate has their own objective behind their decision to study abroad, so it’s important to introspect and identify these reasons as they will form the basis of the college selection process. Questions you need to ask yourself include — Do you have a specific career option in mind? Are you looking for employment in your host country post graduation? Do you wish to enhance your skills in a specific stream and then return home? Understand what value the degree will hold for you.

Jot down deciding factors Apart from seeking an intellectual match, there are several other areas you need to consider when selecting your college such as class, campus size andlocation, cost, program duration, financial aid, jobprospects.

Seek guidance/professional help The process compels you to navigate through a maze of information and systems, so work with a mentor or professional who can guide you through the process. However, you need to be sure that he/she is the right fit for you and you understand his/her working style.

Earmark a weekly slot Stipulate a schedule every week and stick to it. Among your tasks are online research, organising tasks to highlight priorities, connecting with mentors or current students to discuss about colleges and courses, etc.

Check college websites Research the universities that you are targeting, as each college and program has its own ethos, curriculum and admission requirements. Note down details like their pedagogy, class profile, curriculum structure etc. Check out departmental websites for more information regarding teaching methodologies, faculty, practical training and advanced studies. Look for various awards and academic accolades that students and the department have achieved.

Connect with current students, alumni and professors Tap into this pool to attain first-hand knowledge about off-the-book details like faculty support, extra-curricular opportunities, job prospects and much more.

Visit college fairs in your city Attend information sessions and college fairs in your city to get an understanding of the college directly from its admissions team.

Scout college campuses If possible visit selected colleges prior to application as a direct experience will give you a comprehensive idea about the educational ambience, culture, and cost of living. You also get an opportunity to directly communicate with admission officials, students and faculty.

Gather details to decide which college fits you the best Based on the research you have done and your own profile, identify colleges that are the strongest match. Remember to ask — do you have the appropriate test scores, academic background, professional work experience and profile to get into this institution and does the university meet your criteria.

College selection is a daunting task as it involves perseverance and a test of your patience. Muster all your efforts to select the best college for you as the experience will reward you with a lifetime of learning and the ingredients to success.


ReachIvy is a premium education and career advisory that helps aspiring students get accepted into top tier educational institutions globally. We have successful admits at MIT, Columbia, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, London School of Economics, University of Michigan, Oxford, University of Chicago amongst others.

Vibha Kagzi, Founder and CEO, ReachIvy, holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Bachelor of Science from Carnegie Mellon University. She has also pursued courses at the University of California, Berkeley, the London School of Economics and the Indian School of Business.

Our global team of counsellors have also acquired their degrees from premier institutes and are passionate about sharing their experiences with students worldwide.