Applying to College

Things to Consider When Applying to Colleges

  • Listen to others' opinions but you should ultimately make the final decision as it is your future. Own this process!
  • Visit whenever possible! This is the best way to know if a school may be right for you. Eat their food, talk to their students, walk around campus, walk around town, attend classes, meet with admissions personnel, read the school newspaper, and stay overnight
  • Where is the school located? Will you be happy in that type of environment?
  • Consider the distance from home, transportation available, and your comfort level with being near or far from home
  • What degree programs are offered
  • Costs of tuition and housing
  • What kind of financial aid is available
  • Average class size and teacher/student ratio
  • What is the school's ranking (compared to other institutions)?
  • Extracurricular activities available
  • How large is the student body?
  • How successful are graduates in finding employment?
  • The diversity on campus and whether or not you'll be comfortable
  • The general feel on campus. What are students like? What are they talking about? What are they doing?
  • Consider your family's thoughts, opinions, and parameters for where you go to school and how they will impact your decisions

Making a College List

Developing your college list can be a stressful process, so start early and remember that there are always more than a handful of colleges you could be happy at. Try to avoid thinking there is one right college for you that you must find and get accepted to.

The goal is to come up with a balanced group of about ten schools (including SUNY’s and CUNY’s) that fall into three categories: Reach, Target, and Likely/Safety.

  • A Reach school is one where your chances of admission are less likely, but where you have some chance of admission. In most cases, these are schools where the percentage of admitted applicants is extremely small.
  • A Target school is one where your credentials for admission are truly competitive and you are qualified for admission. We would see this as a school where you would have a 50% chance of admission.
  • A Likely/Safety school is one where your credentials are very competitive, and where we are confident that you will be admitted. It is very important that students find the likely schools where they truly believe they can be happy. DO NO'T APPLY TO A SCHOOL YOU COULD NEVER ENVISION YOURSELF GOING TO!


Naviance will be a powerful tool to aid you as you navigate the college process. With this database, you will be able to search for colleges that match your interests and qualifications, identify those schools you are considering applying to, and submit important material such as applications and teacher recommendations, while keeping track of important deadlines and more. Naviance is linked with your Common Application login so that when you submit your application, the other materials that need to go with it will be sent automatically. This system will help both you and the College Office ensure that all parts of your college applications are completed and sent in an organized and timely fashion.

You may click here to access Naviance.


In order for the process to go smoothly, please follow these guidelines:

  • List each school you are applying to under “Colleges to which I am applying.” This is the only way your transcripts will get sent out!
  • You will need to register for the Common App and enter the email address you used into Naviance to link accounts before the College Office can send anything out. You may do so here:

For SUNY Applications

  • Update your college list on Naviance.
    1. Add a new entry for each SUNY school that you are applying to.
    2. On Naviance, the easiest way to find your school is to type “SUNY” into the “Search for Colleges” box, which will pull up the full list of SUNY Schools.
  • Fill out the SUNY application OR the Common Application. **There are many SUNY schools that use the Common Application. You should use EITHER the SUNY application OR the Common Application, not both. If you are applying to other Common Application schools and all of the SUNY schools you are applying to are on the Common Application, just use the Common Application. If you are not applying to other Common Application schools, just use the SUNY application at
  • Some SUNY schools will require a supplemental application form, which requests additional information such as an essay, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and any other supporting information. Have this information completed when you are ready to apply so that your application materials get processed in a timely manner.
  • As SUNY uses a rolling admissions process (meaning that applications will be reviewed for admission once all your materials are received), the earlier you send your application the better.