Ivy League Admission Tips: Personal Factors to Consider When Choosing a College

Making a list of potential colleges and later narrowing it down to a select few may seem like a daunting task; after all, you must consider numerous factors such as your academic preferences and financial situation. Before determining whether a particular college is a good fit, you should give some thought to your personal preferences. This doesn’t mean that you need to know everything about yourself—self-discovery is a lifelong process, but you should be able to determine if the school suits your unique identity.

The more you know about yourself, the better equipped you will be to evaluate potential colleges carefully. Therefore, you should decide what you want to accomplish in college and how you plan to accomplish it. In so doing, you will be able to rule out colleges that don’t match your goals. For example, if you want to pursue computer science, schools with fewer computer science courses will be less appealing than those with rigorous computer science programs. By comparing your priorities against what colleges offer, you will be able to quickly spot colleges that align with your personal and academic objectives.

So, as you make a list of the schools you want to apply to, try to identify your personal priorities. Make sure each college will give you the resources you need to succeed. If a college cannot provide you with your must-have priorities, then it isn’t a good option. You should also consider your lesser priorities: programs or features you would like but could live without.

When choosing potential colleges, follow these Ivy League admission tips to make sure each school aligns with your personal preferences:

Values and Interests

Your unique way of looking at and interacting with the world should have a bearing on your choice of college. Do you thrive in larger or smaller classes? Do you like to get away to walk somewhere quiet and peaceful, or would you prefer to study in a crowded café?

Identify any important priorities related to your lifestyle and find colleges that fit those preferences. Also, make a list of the activities and interests you would like to pursue in college.

Remember to weigh your values, interests, and needs against the college’s core identity and set of priorities. For instance, you might do research to find out whether the college is known for being conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between. If you would like to champion a particular social issue or have a unique interest, find out if the college has any related student-led organizations.


Every college community is different, but so is every student’s concept of an ideal community. You will have to determine how much weight to place on the school’s proximity to family and friends. Further, you should assess how important social interaction will be to you during your college years.


One of the primary factors to consider when selecting colleges is your academic area of interest. Make sure that your potential schools all align with your planned course of study. Making a detailed list of the academic subjects you want to focus on in college will be helpful.


You should consider your expectations for college life and for your career after graduation. What do you want to learn and experience? What do you hope to gain from college? Try to think in general rather than specific terms. For example, instead of trying to decide exactly what kind of business you want to start after graduating, you should simply determine that you want to study business to eventually found a company.

Ivy League Prep can provide you with invaluable guidance during the competitive admissions process. Book an initial consultation to find out more about our complete guidance programs.