While the focus of Hopeless To Harvard is elite college admissions, a broader discussion of college selection criteria is important for every high school student.
Not only are the Ivy League schools different from each other (say, Brown vs. Yale), but beyond the Ivies there’s a whole world of different options.
Here are the biggest factors that you should consider when choosing the right college:
1) Size of the student body. Issue number one, as this will affect variables such as student culture, faculty-student ratio, and so on. In addition, big schools are like big cities – filled with energy, but easy to get lost in. Small schools are like small towns – everyone knows your name, and you have a safety net, but it can lack in opportunities and diversity
2) School prestige. I put this because going to a top school will make a BIG DIFFERENCE in career options after graduation. Harvard, Stanford, and UPenn offer career choices that are more respected, more diverse, and better paid than lower-tier schools. It’s just a fact
3) City versus rural/suburban schools. Colleges located in or near big cities (like NYU, Columbia, UCLA) have completely different lifestyles and campus cultures than cities located in the middle of nowhere (like Cornell, Williams). Think about where you’d be most comfortable or happy based on your personality and background
4) Room for growth. This is a catch-all bucket, but what I mean here is that you want to challenge yourself in college. It’s an incredible 4 years of growth, so you want to go somewhere where you can take risks, learn to live independently, and have a broad and diverse set of new experiences. If you’ve spent your entire life in Austin, it may not be the wisest choice to attend UT-Austin even though it’s a good school. By challenging yourself to new experiences now, your opportunity for growth will expand
Hope that helps! For more info, read my guide to getting into schools like Princeton and Yale.
Want to attend Ivy League schools? Check out my insider’s course and guide to getting into Harvard, even with a 1360 SAT from a public high school.