Make a college list.
“I mean for real. Start listing all the colleges right now.” I say to all my students at the beginning of their college counseling, and I hope they have something.
“So, why do you want to go to those colleges? Other than ‘my parents want me to go’ or ‘because I heard they are famous and highly ranked’,” I ask them next.
They often cannot come up with some unique answers on the spot and they always have Stanford, Caltech, MIT, Dartmouth, and other Ivy League schools. “Oh man, I hope he/she forget it, it’s already too late” I think to myself.
I hope they start explore sooner and keep their options open. Without a strong and unique reason, they are not going to get in any of the highly ranked schools.
See how other students got in some of the extremely selective colleges and get some ideas about your reasons of choosing the colleges on your list.