Ivy League Admission Tips: How to Evaluate Potential Colleges

Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during high school. If you find a college that suits your academic, career, and personal goals, it will be much easier to succeed after graduation. When assessing potential schools, you should consider the following factors to determine if the college works for you.


A college’s location has a significant impact on its character. You should evaluate the potential college’s geography, climate, demographics, and local amenities. When doing so, try to identify your personal preferences. For instance, you may want to stay relatively close to home or avoid cold weather. Also, you may either prefer the amenities offered by large cities or the quiet of smaller towns.

Funding: Public or Private

The nature of a school’s funding has a bearing on its cost, academics, and campus environment. State-funded colleges and universities tend to have lower tuition costs and a much larger enrollment. On the other hand, private colleges are usually more expensive, enroll fewer students, and offer more financial aid.


As mentioned above, a college’s cost largely depends on whether it is public or private. Still, every school is different, and the financial aid opportunities offered will be unique for each student. For example, a public college that offers in-state tuition may be much more accessible than a public college in another state. The financial aid opportunities available to you will depend on your grades, test scores, accomplishments, and other factors. Make sure to look into any available scholarships or grants.


The size of a college influences just about every aspect of the institution. Still, larger and smaller schools each have their strengths and weaknesses, so a college’s size is a less critical factor to consider. For instance, larger schools tend to have more majors, higher athletics rankings, and a broader range of opportunities. In contrast, smaller schools usually have a stronger sense of community, smaller class sizes, and more accessible professors.


Each school’s nature and character have been developed by its unique history. You can be sure that every college has strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and traditions, all of which relate to its history.

For example, you may prefer schools that have historically strong participation in fraternities and sororities. If you are an athlete, then you’ll want a college with a history of excelling at your sport.

Culture and Diversity

A campus’s culture is largely determined by the backgrounds, interests, and lifestyles of the students and staff. As a result, the demographics of a college strongly influence its culture.

For example, a school with a large number of international students will offer a more diverse culture. Associating with students from different backgrounds will make the learning experience unique for everyone.


The education offered by each potential school is likely the most important factor you must consider. When evaluating a school’s academics, examine its majors, minors, concentrations, and offered courses. Does the college match your academic interests and goals?

Also, do some research on other matters related to the school’s academics. Can students easily transfer from one of the university’s colleges to another? Does the school employ an open curriculum, or are there certain core course requirements? How are classes structured and taught?

Extracurricular Activities

During high school, you have likely become interested in a handful of extracurricular activities, and you may want to continue to pursue them in college. Find out what extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities, clubs, and other activities are offered by each school.

Choosing a college may be challenging, but these Ivy League admission tips will help you craft a realistic list of schools that suit your needs. Book an initial consultation with Ivy League Prep for more guidance on how to gain admission to the best possible schools.