My Top Ten Ways to Select your College List seems to fit your question. Lets start with #10 and work up to the most important suggestion. #10 - would be to visit each school your son is interested in. Do this if at all possible because the visit will give your son and you so much information. #9 - he should stay overnight in a dorm and go to classes for a day. Arrangements can be made with the admission office. #8 - always consider " actual costs" rather than the "sticker price". Be sure to calculate in any travel, clothes, medical expenses, and spending money. #7 - sometimes other parents are good resources because they have had experiences with perhaps older children who looked at the same schools. #6 - students who graduated from your son's high school and are perhaps now attending some of the schools he is looking at can be very helpful with information not found in the admission office's presentation during an Open House event. #5 - get to know the admission staff especially the rep who covers and reads the applications from his high school. Ask questions when you are on the campus tour and at the Open House. #4 - parents need to listen to their child. If you are on a campus tour and your son says," I have seen enough , lets go. I do not like this place." Listen to him. #3- always trust your instincts -- you will always be right. If a campus does not " feel right" to your son and you have the same feeling. Leave the campus and cross the school off your list. #2. - select schools that offer growth, options and opportunities. Having a field of study that he likes would come under opportunities. #1 - it is critical to have a balanced list. This balance is composed of Reach schools, Target campuses and Likely schools ( your numbers exceed the average). Having a list of 14 schools to apply to would mean he would have 4 Reaches, 5 Targets and 5 Likely or 3 Reaches , 6 Targets and 5 Likely or 4 Reaches, 6 Targets and 4 Likely. It takes time and effort to develop a final list of schools. Having the list ready to go by mid May of his junior year is a good target date. Be supportive, listen and keep an open mind. If you need additional advice or service please feel free to email me. Best wishes to you son.