How to Build a Great College List

An On Demand Mini-Course for Students and Families

With nationally-recognized college expert Dr. Steven Antonoff, and Ethan Sawyer (College Essay Guy)

Register Now

Every year, millions of students ask:

  • How do I find colleges that I can get into and where I will be happy?
  • If I don't know what I want to study in college, am I doomed from the start? What if I have multiple interests?
  • How should I use US News rankings in my college search? Or should I?
  • How do I know what factors to consider in narrowing down my list of colleges? How do I prioritize these factors?
  • How do I go about finding a school that is both a good fit and a school with a reasonable cost?
  • How do I determine how attractive I will be as a college applicant?
  • I'm a Black student. Is there reason to look beyond HBCUs? I am a LatinX student. Is there reason to look beyond Hispanic Serving Institutions?
  • Do I need to hire a private counselor (independent educational consultant) to find a good fit college?
  • How do colleges go about selecting students?
  • Is there a "right" number of colleges to explore? To apply to?
  • Is it fair to expect my counselor to find the perfect college for me?

I’m partnering with Dr. Steven Antonoff—college counselor and nationally recognized author and speaker—to answer all these questions and more.

How to Build a Great College List

A Mini-Course for Students and Families 


The Mission: Identifying colleges where you will both get in and fit in!

The Method: Four hours of expert list-building advice with a nationally-recognized expert.

Join me and Dr. Antonoff to discuss finding colleges that meet your academic goals, social goals, financial goals, and even more!

This comprehensive, three-hour pay-what-you-can mini-course—intended for 9th to 11th graders and their families—will guide you through pretty much all the things you need to know when it comes to finding great college options. 

What we cover:

  • The Building Blocks of College List Creation: knowledge of yourself, what you are looking for in a college, and awareness of college options
  • How student and parent attitudes can help (or hinder) finding good college options
  • Step-by-step approaches to articulating what you are really looking for in a college
  • Methods of going beyond the words (small, isolated, value, Greek, major, etc.) to hone in on what matters most in finding college choices where you will thrive
  • How to determine whether a particular college will be welcoming to you
  • How to gauge how generous colleges will be when it comes to financial aid
  • Ways to research colleges so you can separate the signal from the noise
  • Admission office secrets — uncovering what goes on behind closed doors
  • How to be sure you have enough backup schools on your list

Narrowing Your List

Learn the building blocks of college list creation: knowledge of yourself, what you are looking for in a college, and awareness of college options.

Know Thyself

You'll be given methods of going deeper to hone in on what matters most in finding college choices where you will thrive.

Practical Resources

We'll share some of the most effective resources and approaches for building a successful college list.

Meet Dr. Steven Antonoff

For over 35 years, Steven R. Antonoff has built his knowledge of colleges and universities. As an independent educational consultant, Dr. Antonoff has worked with more than 3,800 students and has visited (and revisited) hundreds of colleges

Dr. Antonoff is the author of two popular and long-standing college planning books: College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You and The College Finder: Choosing the School That’s Right for You. In 2019, Dr. Antonoff published A Student of Colleges: Fundamentals of Independent Educational Consulting, a text intended as a guide for the more than 5,000 professional educational consultants.

Dr. Antonoff is the founding chair of the commission on credentialing of the American Institute for Certified Educational Planners (AICEP). The commission grants the CEP designation to those who demonstrate advanced consulting skills and pass a board-certified assessment. Instrumental in the founding of the Independent Educational Consulting Association (IECA) Summer Training Institute, Dr. Antonoff has served on the faculty for nearly two decades. He is past chair of the board of trustees of the IECA Foundation, the charitable arm of the professional consulting association.

Dr. Antonoff was the first recipient of the IECA Professional Achievement Award, created to recognize the member who has contributed the most to developing the profession of independent educational consulting. Presented annually, the award is now known as the Steven R. Antonoff Award for Professional Achievement.

Meet Ethan

Ethan Sawyer is a nationally recognized college essay expert, sought-after speaker, and author of the Amazon bestsellers College Essay Essentials and College Admission Essentials.

Each year he helps thousands of students and counselors through his online courses, workshops, articles, products, and books, and works privately with a small number of students.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Ethan holds an MFA from UC Irvine, two counseling certificates, is certified in Myers-Briggs and hypnotherapy. He lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife and daughter.


Identify colleges where you will both get in and fit in over four hours of expert list-building advice.

$297 includes:

  • Three Hours of Recorded Live Instruction
  • Student List Building Resources
  • College Suggestions Based on Your Preferences
$297 One Time - Register

$74 X 4 Months -

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Can’t afford this course?
We're offering pay-what-you-can spots

Access is really important to me. In fact, it’s at the heart of most of everything I do. It’s why I’m offering pay-what-you-can spots for any family who can't afford the sticker price.

If that’s you, request a pay-what-you-can spot.

Don’t be shy; we’d love to have you.


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