Are You Thinking About Your College List?

What does your college list look like?

As seniors continue to mull over their acceptances and remain hopeful that their wait listed schools will come through, juniors, still full of hope and optimism, are starting to create their college lists. In many cases, these lists will contain some of the country's top colleges, whose application rates continue to soar.

Whether you are just beginning your application process or at the tail end, it is important to realize that upper-tier schools make up only a fraction of what's available to you. America has several thousand schools to choose from, many of which accept the majority of their applications and provide excellent long-term value in terms of cost and future earning potential.

Much of our fascination with elite schools is due to the schools' own marketing campaigns. As The New York Times Choice writer Jacques Steinberg points out here, “Some schools spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on slick marketing campaigns begging kids to apply for the privilege of being rejected, and yet the colleges will tell you there are so many kids who get this material, apply, get in and go who would have never known to do so had they not received it.”

Getting past this indoctrination is key for having a more positive college application process. There are plenty of opportunities beyond top tier schools that can give you a strong education and a bright future.