When developing the list of colleges to visit, many will narrow their list by major, location, or cost. A guidance counselor recently suggested using SAT scores as a factor in deciding where to visit. I must admit that idea had never occurred to me as college visit selection criteria, but I understand the counselor's point of view.
On the one hand, it makes sense. Why visit a school with stiff competition and an enrollment profile that indicates less than 25% of admits fall into an SAT range equal to or lower than your scores? On the other hand, most colleges will tell you that scores are not the only factor in the college admissions process–that GPA, strength of courses, and extracurricular activities are equally important factors. Needless to say, the admissions process has many complexities and varies from school to school.
If you start the visit process early in your high school career, you have more time to evaluate and improve your academic performance against the schools that interest you. If you started looking at colleges too late to make a significant change in your academic profile, all is not lost. You still have options for earning a degree from the college or university that appeals to you the most. These options include attending a different school for one or two years–whether it be a four-year school, a community college, or a junior college–and then applying as a transfer student.
Regardless of the path you end up on, the important first step begins with a college visit.