college application checklist

On last week’s episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, Ian shifts the focus of our attention to the juniors and what goes into building the college list. But before we completely close the book on our current seniors, the opening segment explains a bit more about what goes on behind the waitlist process.

Understanding Waitlist Practices

While many of our seniors are wrapping up their final decisions, some find themselves in limbo as waitlist decisions are largely yet to be released. To help us better understand why and how colleges use waitlists, Emily Toffelmire joins Ian to talk about enrollment management strategies. They explain how the waitlist can serve as a tool to help colleges manage their target class size (and composition) and answer why the outcomes can be so unpredictable from year to year. They share some recommendations for where to find the most up to date data on waitlist numbers, and explain what institutional priorities are and how they vary from college to college.

Building the College List

In the second segment of the show, College Coach’s list guru herself, Julia Jones, joins Ian to unpack the various factors to consider when putting together a list of colleges to research. Julia and Ian run through the many variables, weigh in on how to develop your priorities and deal breakers, and point out what should absolutely be ignored altogether. They answer how to make sense of all of the data out there and when to use rankings and ratings (or not!). Listening will help you get a better sense of how you can whittle down the 4,000+ colleges in the U.S. to a more reasonable 30-40 to research, and then to the short list of schools to which you will actually apply.

Considering Cost when Building the List

In the last segment, Ian is joined by Kathy Ruby to help address how to let cost factor into the list building process. They cover all of the important questions, from how do you anticipate your discount to how do you make sense of the sticker price. Kathy explains how to figure out about how much you’ll be expected to contribute and also shares a couple of different websites with helpful data to better inform your research. Listen to the full segment to better understand what a financial safety school is and why it’s important to have one.

Tune in to our next episode when Elizabeth Heaton welcomes a special guest to talk about college programs in the UK. Additionally, she will cover college payment plans, and will be joined by yours truly to discuss how to know if you’re done with your standardized testing.



Written by Tova Tolman
Tova Tolman is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Tova worked in admissions at Fordham University, Montclair State University, and Barnard College. Visit our website to learn more about Tova Tolman.