Custom Built Team Building and Leadership Initiative Training

College Admissions Rank ‘Em

This activity is for all of my TRiO lovers out there! Do you want an activity to do with high school students who are interested in pursuing a post-secondary education? This is the one for you. As a counselor for Educational Talent Search, I have often caught myself lecturing my students about the different reasons to pick a college. Do they want to go to the University of Texas because of its academic prestige, student life, or because of the location? What about Tulsa Community College, are you going because of price, location, or the admissions criteria? Is one criteria more important that the other? This activity will help guide the students to answering these questions in a fun and interactive way.

Objective: As a group, rank a list of reasons why someone would attend college.

Group Size: You can use this activity with any size group, but to help with ease of communication, try to limit the group size to fifteen. If you have a larger group, separate the group in to several smaller groups, even groups as small as two to three people.

Props: Type of a list of factors that any student would consider when choosing post-secondary education. Place these terms on their own piece of paper. It helps to have each term on their own paper so that the participants can move them around and actually rank them on the floor or table.

Set Up: Simply place the factors on the floor or on a table so each participant can see the different words.

Description: The rules for this activity are very simple, tell the group that they should try to come to a consensus and rank all the college admission factors from most important to least important. This means that they will all agree to the final rankings. It is often hard for the group to come to a consensus, and it is more important that they begin talking about these factors than if they come to an actual consensus. Feel free to put a time-limit on this activity to keep the activity from lasting several hours!

Debrief: Take notes during the activity to some of the things the participants are saying to each other as they rank the college admission factors. Use your experience as a TRiO professional to help guide them after the activity to the most important factors in their own individual college admissions decision.

Variation: Have the participants view the factors and then write their own rankings on a piece of paper. They can then share their list to the group and explain why they ranked them.

College Admission Factors:

Type (Private or Public)
Academic Rigor
Campus Life
Campus Aesthetics
Your Friends Go There
Your Family
Majors Offered
Greek Life
Setting (Urban, Suburban or Rural)
Admissions Criteria
Housing Options
Religious Affiliation


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