Custom Built Team Building and Leadership Initiative Training

College Admissions Rank ‘Em

Ever wondered what your participants thought was the most important reason for picking a college? College Admission’s Rank ‘Em will start the conversation amongst students about the different reasons for deciding on a future college.

Paradigm Shift

Number of Participants: 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 – three.
Time: 15-45 minutes (depends on how many are in the group, different personalities, etc.)
Activity Level: Low
Props: Type of a list of factors that any student would consider when choosing post-secondary education. Place each term on a single piece of paper or at least a half sheet 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

Objective: To rank the reason to pick a college from most important to least important as an entire group.

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: the group must come to a consensus and rank all the college admission factors from most important to least important. This means that they must 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!


  • For large groups, create two or more sets of cards.
  • Instead of printing the cards ahead of time, encourage a brainstorming session from the participants. They may come up with factors you hadn’t thought of, or they may become passionate for the ideas they generated, which hopefully will create more conversation.
  • This activity isn’t related to just college admissions. Place whatever words you feel need to be discussed on the cards to create dynamic conversations.
  • 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

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why did you decide on these final rankings?
  2. Did anyone compromise for the sake of the group?
  3. Were there times when you felt passionate about a particular card?
  4. If you did this by yourself, would you have come up with a different outcome?

Facilitator Notes:

  • 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 professional to help guide them after the activity to the most important factors in their own individual college admissions decision.

Examples of 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

Let me know if you have any questions on how to implement this into your program or have any ideas on how to use College Admissions Rank ‘Em.

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift

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