Developing a working college list no later than junior year, and finalizing it before senior year begins, is what sets the most competitive applicants apart. If there's one thing about college admissions that high school students should learn upfront, it's that all roads in high school lead from where you intend to apply to college. The colleges on your list will determine the minimum GPA you should aim for, which standardized tests you need take (and the scores required to make you a competitive candidate), how many essays you will need to write, what kind of scholarship opportunities may be available, which other application deliverables you may need to prepare, application/testing/scholarship deadlines, and much more.
Whether you're a sophomore or a senior, it's never too early to start thinking about where you aspire to attend college, and how you can start building your application assets to be a competitive candidate by the time you apply. In this post, I'll explain our five-step process to identifying your colleges of interest. I'll also describe how I work with my college admissions consulting students to professionally guide them in developing their preliminary and final college lists.