Target Colleges

When finalizing a list of “safety,” “match,” and “reach” schools, it’s important to consider various factors to ensure a balanced college application strategy. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Academic Profile

Compare your GPA and standardized test scores to the average profile of admitted students at each college. This will help you categorize schools based on your likelihood of admission.

Acceptance Rate

Look at the overall acceptance rate of the colleges. A low acceptance rate can make a college a reach, even for highly qualified students.

Safety Schools

  • These are colleges where your academic credentials are above the school’s average admitted student profile.
  • You should have a higher than 70% chance of acceptance.
  • Ensure that safety schools are places you would be happy to attend.

Match Schools

  • Colleges where your academic credentials are similar to the average admitted student.
  • You have a reasonable chance of acceptance, typically between 15-70%.
  • They should align well with your academic and personal preferences.

Reach Schools

  • These are colleges where your academic credentials are below the average admitted student profile.
  • You have less than a 15% chance of admission.
  • Reach schools are aspirational and often highly selective.

Personal Preferences

Consider factors such as campus culture, location, size, available majors, and extracurricular opportunities.

Financial Considerations

Assess the cost of attendance and the availability of financial aid and scholarships.

Career Prospects

Research the career services and job placement rates for graduates in your field of interest.

Graduation Rates

Higher retention and graduation rates can indicate student satisfaction and academic success.

Special Programs

Look for colleges that offer special programs, honors colleges, or unique learning opportunities that interest you.

Focus on a manageable number of colleges where students can submit strong, thoughtful applications.