Want to find your best college fit? Make a great list based on what matters to you.

There are a lot of colleges out there, each with its pros and cons. Keep your thoughts straight while you search. Create a list of what matters to you—the feel of the campus, the choice of majors, your sense of the team, or anything else. Then use the CaptainU Colleges feature to rank and re-rank schools as you find a great fit.

When you look for your college, you have all sorts of options. Every type of campus, major, and team is out there. Do you want a rural school that has business classes? What about a big-city college on the East Coast? Really, with thousands of colleges across the country, you can find any type of fit for the next few years of life. It just comes down to what matters to you.

One popular way to sort through colleges is to start with the campus. Think about the type of city and the size of school you like. Stay near home, or check out a new place. Try a big city like Boston, Chicago, or New York; go for peace and quiet at a rural college; or find a happy medium. Share a campus with tens of thousands of students or just a few hundred of them. If you have strong ideas about the size and site of a school, then start here to narrow your list.

College sports are played at a few different levels. You’re best off in one that fits your skills. Search through programs in NCAA Divisions I, II, or III, the NAIA, or a mix of options. If athletic scholarships are a big deal for you, keep in mind that Division III colleges aren’t able to offer them. You can rank other schools above Division III colleges on your list or look for great non-athletic aid.

Classes are a huge part of college. Find a place where they hold your interest and fit your schedule. Check out what majors a college offers and make sure the college has a few that excite you, even if you don’t totally know what you want to study. Ask about the homework—how much time it takes and how athletes at the college balance it with practices and games. If you want to join clubs or groups during college, find out which schools have the ones you want and if they can fit your schedule.

Your college years can be some of your best in life. Look for a school where you can have a great time and be yourself. Find a team with personalities that fit yours and a school where the social life lets you do what you love. If you had to give up your sport, because of an injury or for any reason, would you still like this college? You want to have a great time, on your team and away from it, in the next few years.

This is a lot of info to think about. You can keep your thoughts in one place by making a college list. Start your list with your favorite colleges, but add the others on your mind. With each college, write down a few of its pros and cons. When you see your list in writing, you get a better sense of which factors really matter to you. And if you ever can’t figure out what you like or don’t like about a college, then talk it over with a parent or friend.

CaptainU makes it easy to build your college list. Log in to the “college” tab and click the “add a college” button. This gives you the choice to add a school by name or to search for a school. For colleges you already know, use the “school by name” option, but to look around for new colleges, try “search for a school.” You can filter your search in all sorts of ways—athletic division, needed grades, campus size, and national region. It’s good to play around with the filters and see which colleges match different searches. Click on the college name to see more info about it and get a link to its website.

Order your list however you’d like. Just click “reorder” to organize it in a way that makes sense for you. You can order your list from favorite to least favorite colleges, or you can set it up based on college location or division. Move the order of colleges or the category of ranking as often as you want. Whenever you hear about a new college that excites you, add it to the list so you remember to find out more about it. At first your list might be huge, with 20 or 30 colleges, and by your senior year you can bring it down to your top choices.

You’re in control of your college search. Trust yourself and the things that matter to you as you find your fit. The college list features on CaptainU help you keep all of your schools and your notes about them in one place while you make your choices. That way you can relax and keep a clear head as you get ready to make a great college team.

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