Tips to shorten your college application list?

Hi everyone! I am a current Junior and have compiled a list of schools to apply to. I will be a political science/politics major and pre-law (so cost is a huge factor for me). In fact, concerns over cost has made me want to apply to a lot of schools since I am worried about the cost of college (mom makes 200k so I will have to pay a lot).

Honestly, I am in love with most of these schools so narrowing down my list has been hard. I also want to narrow my list to at most 13 schools. Any suggestions? Any tips/advice to shorten my college list? Any schools you suggest not applying to? Any advice would be appreciated, thank you!

Here is my current list:
fordham university
occidental college
emerson college
american university
northeastern university
georgetown university
barnard college
brown university

I am also considering:
Franklin university Switzerland
uni of san francisco
Uni of Portland
Lewis and clark
uni of Maryland

Here are my stats for reference:
-GPA: 4.3 weighted as of now
-I have not taken the ACT yet but I will in April
-All the APs taken (including senior year): AP European History, APUSH, AP English Language, AP Spanish Language, AP Gov, AP Microeconomics, AP Environmental Science, & other honors classes

-Founder of a student organization focused on empowering and educating young women interested in politics
-National Honors Society
-National Project Director for a National Activist Society
-My school’s Model UN logistics officer
-Apart of my town’s philanthropy program where I created my own service project
-Tutor for middle schoolers
-internship with my local congressman
-political researcher for my county’s democratic party
-barista for 2 years

Have you run the Net Price Calculator for each school? A first step in trimming the list would be to see which are unaffordable.


I agree with the above. Cull your list by budget first. Some of the schools on your list don’t give merit awards. Run the NPC and then talk to your mom about the budget. That will pare it down for sure.

And remember the student loan limit for freshman is $5,500 - so your budget is likely to be:

Current College Savings/4 + what your parent is willing to spend annually + $5,500 (loan) + annual student earnings for college

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In addition to what everyone else has said, I would recommend making a list of what’s most important for your college experience. Just general things like size preference, cost, opportunities, etc. Then you go through each of the schools on the list and think about each of the things you’ve listed and if that school fits the bill or not. This was how I narrowed my list down to 7 schools from the 15 or so I had this past summer. The only other thing you might need to do is find a true safety, but you’ll want to have your ACT before you do that.

I definitely agree with everything everyone has said, but especially this comment. As for safeties, I’d say that you definitely only want to apply to places that you really could see yourself going to, and if you can’t, knock it off your list.

One thing that helped me that others haven’t mentioned was looking at the specific classes offered in topics I’m interested in.

Definitely watch youtube videos, tour, talk to current students or find some way to get the vibe of the campus.

Sorry if I was not much help but good luck!

Once you have determined your safety colleges, you can remove any other college which you would not choose over your safety colleges under any circumstances.

For the California public universities, recalculate your HS GPA as shown at GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub . Most UC web sites refer to the weighted-capped version unless otherwise specified. CSU uses the weighted-capped version, except that if you have taken college courses while in high school, each semester of college course counts as two semesters of high school courses.