College Admissions: Tips for Selecting Colleges, Part 1

During the college admissions process, it’s very important to select a broad range of schools.  Colleges’ admittance selection can often be a crapshoot—there are a lot of variables. How many students are applying to this particular college this year?  How did I do on my SAT compared to everyone else who is applying to college? Is a school looking to fill its remaining spots with a particular “kind” of student? Because you just never know what a college’s ultimate decision is going to be, it’s important to apply to a wide spectrum of colleges. Visit college websites to get some sort of profile of the previous year’s class, and consider the useful terms below to categorize the colleges you’re applying to:

  • Safeties: These are the schools that you will most certainly gain admission to. Your SAT scores and GPA more than meet the mark—they exceed it.  If the unfortunate circumstance occurs that you’ve been rejected from or waitlisted at all of your colleges, you still know you have a spot at your safety schools.
  • Possibles: These are the schools where your SAT scores and GPA are right on target, and with your impressive activity resume and superb college essay (see our College Essay Tips blog!), you’ll be more than likely to gain admittance to your “possible” colleges.
  • Reaches: These are the colleges that are somewhat of a long-shot, but that’s okay. Of course it’s important to be realistic (which you are by placing schools in this category!), but it’s still good to have a few of these types of schools on your list. Sure, your SAT scores and GPA are lower than what the school typically requires, but you just never know. A college admissions officer could be blown away by your essay. The possibility makes it worth a shot.

The college admissions process is stressful, but to eliminate the anxiety and uncertainty that can surely come from not knowing if you’ll receive admittance to your college choices, consider applying to a few of each category of colleges.

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