Knowing where and how to start your college search can be daunting, especially because picking the wrong institution can cost you to lose money and waste valuable time and effort. The best way to approach picking colleges is to evaluate and sort them based on their reach, match, and safety. Let's dive in to each category.
An individual's GPA and test scores fall within the average scores and GPA for the typical student the university admits, making them Match schools. Acceptance isn't necessarily guaranteed, but chances are high. Ways to increase your chances of acceptance range from extra-curricular activities and projects to participating in interviews and on-campus events.
A reach school is a school in which an individual's GPA and test scores fall below the average scores and GPA for the typical student the university admits. Chances of acceptance are not guaranteed, but it is okay to apply. You can work to make your application stand out by being creative and thinking outside of the box. One great example is attaching a writing portfolio to showcase a skill that may not be reflected in your GPA or test scores.
An individual's GPA and test scores are above the average scores and GPA for the typical student the university admits. Individuals can feel more at ease knowing their chances of being admitted are higher than a reach or match school.
Students shouldn’t be afraid to aim for top schools because they feel they may not get accepted; however, keep in mind the costs, including tuition and fees, for each institution, as well as the amount of aid for which students from a similar family income receive on average. Including safety schools among a student’s list of institutions enables the student to take chances on also applying to more selective colleges. While these institutions are selective and may provide a great education, students should apply to schools where they feel the fit is right, which will improve chances of being successful.
After building and narrowing the list of colleges and universities, students should turn their attention to the process of applying. The key to a successful application cycle is to stay organized, keep track of deadlines, and seek help or advice when needed.
Need more college prep help? Get ready for college writing with my keys to college writing success.
Prof. Cheryl is a professor, author and homeschooling mom and the developer of the Young Author and College Prep Writing classes where through rigor , practice and targeted skill building, students develop their collegiate and creative writing skills. Visit www.Learn4college.com/about to learn more.