Narrowing down the list of universities is difficult not because of a lack of information, but because of too much of it. This is why you need to follow the role of a satisficer, someone who settles for a good enough solution that meets a preset threshold. You can be a maximizer when the time comes to pick your dream university.
It is tempting to use ranking as a dealbreaker while choosing universities. But, it is not a good representation of your experience. There are a plethora of other factors to consider. First, we divided these into four quadrants: requirements, academia, career, and miscellaneous. Next, we gave you the resources needed to obtain information for all these quadrants. And finally, most importantly, we walked you through a five-step framework that you can use to do a pretty good job of narrowing down the universities from over 25 to under 8. The most important step here is to write down what matters the most to you in each of the factors and assign appropriate priority among them. This entire process should be thought of as one of elimination, rather than one of selection. We will revisit some of these concepts once again in a later chapter when you are tasked with picking your dream university.
With so many options out there, you will find it hard to reach a point when you feel the work is complete. That is why it’s important to begin with a threshold on the number of applications, either based on financial constraints or other personal factors. If you’ve followed the structure we’ve detailed in the chapter closely, we can assure you that you can’t go wrong.