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What Colleges Should I Apply To

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What’s A Reach School

How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

Once you’ve selected your safety and target schools, you can pick a few reach schools. Often, reach schools are ones that you aspire to and would love to attend, but can’t count on the fact that you’ll get in.

Ivy League schools, by the way, should be considered a reach for just about any student, even if you have a perfect GPA and SAT/ACT score. Beyond the Ivies, you might consider any school where you have a 20% or less chance of getting in to be a reach school.

For reach schools, the credentials of the average accepted student are stronger than yours. At the same time, they’re not so much higher that you have no shot of getting accepted.

Let’s go through an example of researching a reach school.

Applying To College Can Be Easy

If you know exactly where youd like to apply, chances are you can start the process online via the schools website. Or if you want to cast a wider net to several schools, you can choose to apply all at once via the Common App, an online, one-stop application portal . You simply fill out your general information once and then manage additional application materials like letters of recommendation, essays, and test scores all in the single digital platform.

Prepscholar’s Database And Admission Calculator

PrepScholar has a streamlined way for you to find the average test scores and GPA for your colleges. Simply search for ” PrepScholar” to find this info, along with all the other application requirements.

In addition to learning what test scores and grades you need, you can also use our admission calculator to estimate your chances. This tool is located near the bottom of our PrepScholar admission requirements page for each school. Simply input your grades and test scores.

The example below shows the admission chances to NYU for a student with an SAT score of 1410 and a 3.7 GPA:

As you can see, a student with a 1410 on the SAT and a 3.7 GPA has about a 13% chance of admission. Of course, this is just an estimate as other factors come into play for a school like NYU that uses holistic admission.

As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, figuring out your admission chances is a critical step in making your college list. By understanding your actual chances, you can narrow down your list into safety, match, and reach schools.

Read on for a precise definition of each and the steps for finding yours.

Like a pup in his security blanket, make yourself comfortable by applying to two or three safety schools.

Want to build the best possible college application?

We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools.

Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.

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I’m Graduating High School Early

There are rare advanced students who earn enough credits, perhaps from courses at a local community college or online, to graduate high school early and go straight into college at a young age.

These students push their timeline earlier by a year or two, taking the SAT or ACT as freshmen or sophomores, and gathering all their documents early. If this sounds like you, you’ll probably want to work closely with your counselors, administrators, and teachers to make sure they agree with your choice.

You might take your tests in freshmen and sophomore year, ask your sophomore year teachers for recommendations, and apply in the fall or winter of your junior year. You may also have to take the GED to earn the equivalent of your high school diploma. Make sure you’ve met all graduation requirements and, of course, have concrete, realistic reasons for graduating high school early and enrolling in college.

The aforementioned situations are exceptions rather than the rule, but can be great options if they apply to your situation and needs. In closing, let’s review when most students submit their applications to colleges.

Important Info Before You Apply

How Many Medical Schools Should I Apply To: Build a Great ...
  • The application processing fee is $95.00 .
  • An application allows you up to 5 program choices .
  • All program choices must start within the same academic year .
  • There may be additional fees to request transcripts.
  • Your username is permanent.
  • Your password must be between 8 and 14 characters in length.
  • Use a valid email address.
  • DO NOT create more than one account.
  • The application works best in certain web browsers.

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What Is A Good Number Of Schools To Apply To

Depending on what kind of student you are, eight may seem like far to many and 14 could even seem like too few. But there are some pretty good reasons why these are the numbers that any high school counselor, and many college admissions consultants would advise a high school student to aim for.

Just to be clear, it is important for students to know that the definitions of the target, reach and safety schools are going to depend entirely on their standing as a student. These types of schools will primarily have to do with factors such as a students grade point average throughout their high school years as well as the scores that they earned on either the SAT or ACT.

When it comes to a safe school, students should target schools that they are most likely to get into, even if they do not necessarily dream of attending. Quite often, students will target schools that are structurally similar to their target or dream schools, but perhaps a bit less prestigious.

For example, a student who is targeting Harvard as a reach school, may look at schools like Tufts University or USC as their safety schools. For a student who is targeting the University of Michigan as their target school, they may look to schools like Indiana University or Iowa University as their safety schools. Typically, safety schools should be where a student would place in the top 25 percent of admitted students.

Youll Earn Valuable Skills That Make You More Employable

At college, learning starts in lecture halls but then comes alive in labs, studios, state-of-the-art spaces that let you practice your craft. If you want to build buildings, robots or secure websites create movies, podcasts or advertising campaigns run a business, a resort or a restaurant, youll need to have the experience and knowledge you can only gain while earning your degree. While its true that some jobs value experience, many more require a degree. In fact, a recent report by the National Bureau of Economic Research states that 70% of new jobs created since the 2008 recession were in occupations that typically require a bachelors degree. Earning your degree is a major factor in gaining employment. Again, applying is the first step!

> > Related Reading:How Career Outcomes, Social Mobility Make JWU a Top Choice

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How To Respond To What Other Colleges Are You Applying To

This question is actually technically not allowed. The National Association for College Admission Counseling advises against asking candidatesto divulge or rank order their college preferences on applications or other documents in their Code of Ethics and Professional Practices. The NACAC states they may ask the question verbally only if the answer will not be used to influence an admission, scholarship, or financial aid decision.

With that said, its still common for candidates to be asked this question. A safe strategy is to answer it as if it might have bearing on your applicationbecause it can. Heres what you should do:

Dont Answer

One way to approach this question, if you encounter it on an application, is to leave it blank. For example, this is one of the strategies we advise in handling the question on SUNY ESFs supplemental essays. Of course, this isnt a solution if the question is mandatory, or if youre asked the question in an interview. In that case, youll need a more well-thought-out approach.

Give a Vague Answer

If youre required to respond to the question, you can simply give a vague answer, without naming any schools. For example:

Im applying to my state flagship university and a few other schools across the country.

Highlight an Admirable Quality of the School

Redirect the Interviewer

How To Apply To An Ontario College

Ask Admissions: How many colleges should I apply to, and which ones?
  • Home
  • Applying
  • The first step in applying to college is to research the programs and colleges available to you. If you have not already decided what programs you are applying to, you can:

    The next step is to create an account with and begin your college application.

    Ready to start your application?

    to your account to complete your application, make changes or confirm offers of admission.

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    Using The Logic Above Your List Should Now Contain About 12 Colleges

    Of course, this is a suggested number only, undoubtedly more relevant to a student on the East or West Coast than to an applicant from the Great Plains. But you get the idea. Take a thoughtful, targeted and somewhat cautious approach to your list, and youll improve your chances of a positive outcome next spring.

    Remember: You dont have to send in all the apps early, or all at once. But you do have to be committed to the process, and that means staying on top of deadlines, essay requirements and, once you submit, whatever colleges ask for in the portal.

    How To Find Your Safety Schools

    As we talked about, you can look for info on your college’s official website and PrepScholar’s database.

    Let’s say, just to give an example, that you’re interested in the University of Mississippi. On its official website, you’ll find this information about regular admission:

    If you’re a resident of Mississippi and meet the GPA and test score requirement, then you have automatic acceptance . If this describes you, then you can definitely consider Ole Miss to be a safety school.

    If this doesn’t describe you or you still want to find more information about this particular college, you can consult PrepScholar’s database.

    On our database page for Ole Miss, you’ll find that the average GPA is 3.6, the average SAT score is 1160, and the average ACT score is 25.

    Let’s say you got a 1200 SAT score and currently have a 3.6 GPA. Plug in these stats to calculate your admission chances, as so:

    As you can see, a student with this SAT score and GPA has roughly an 90% chance of getting accepted. Since that’s greater than 80%, this student can consider Ole Miss a safety school.

    Go through this process and use the admission calculator to find two to three safety schoolswhere your chances of getting in are 80% or greater.

    Next, you can choose two to three match schools.

    Pick a match, but not just any match. Also, what kind of magic trick is this? Looks dangerous.

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    When Do You Apply For Rolling Admissions

    Your timeline for applying for rolling admissions depends on a few factors and may vary from student to student. Schools with rolling admissions accept applications throughout a period of time, usually ranging from the fall to the spring. For example, the application for ASU opened July 1 this year and will remain open through Spring 2022.

    Since most schools with rolling admissions accept applications on a first come, first served basissometimes notifying you of admission only a few weeks after you submitit’s advisable to apply as early as possible. Sticking to an early deadline of November or regular deadline in January, even though you don’t absolutely have to, is a good guideline to follow.

    Not only will setting a deadline for yourself help you keep better track of your college planning, but it will help you apply early and thereby impress admissions officers, which gives you a better chance of admission.

    Some schools with rolling admission also publicize a priority deadline, meaning students who apply by that deadline have an advantage. University of Maryland’s priority deadline, for instance, is November 1. They’ll still accept applications after, but you’ll have improved chances if you apply by then.

    College Applications Require Energy

    How Many Colleges Should I Apply to? 5 Factors to Consider

    You will need to prepare your body and mind for the tasks associated with applying to colleges. The more schools you put on your list, the more work you create for yourself.

    The college application process can be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially if your chances of acceptance are low. To make your efforts worth it, only choose the colleges where you really intend to study. Youll save energy by minimizing your to-do list and can invest it in perfecting the applications you do send. Plus, creating personalized applications expressing why you are interested in a particular school is easier if you really mean what you say.

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    How Many Schools Should I Apply For

    In previous generations, the admission process of high schoolers was far less complex and far less competitive than it is today. In fact, not so long ago, it was considered completely unnecessary to even attend schooling past high school unless a person was interested in academia or pursuing a job that required extra education, such as becoming a doctor or a lawyer.

    Now, the circumstances are far different. Today, it is generally believed that any high school student should absolutely pursue a four-year education. These degrees are considered a baseline requirement for jobs and careers across many different industries.

    In fact, it is now starting to become far more common for young adults to pursue graduate degrees simply to make themselves more attractive in the job market. But that is a conversation for another time. Lets refocus on the number of schools that students should be applying to for their undergraduate education.

    Typically, the majority of high school students who are applying to four-year programs are going to end up applying to anywhere between eight and 14 different schools. The reason why this has been considered a good number for students to aim for a number of years is that it allows students to target certain kinds of schools in different sections that make up that larger number.

    The advised breakdown tends to be:

    • Four to six target schools
    • Two to four reach schools
    • Two to four safety schools

    What Colleges Are Looking For In A Successful Applicant

    Are you ready to find your fit?

    Applying to college can be an overwhelming process, especially if youre trying to get into schools where competition is stiff. There are several common factors that most colleges consider when looking at potential applicants however, the key to acceptance isnt just doing well. You want to show admissions officers what makes you stand out from the crowd.

    High School GPA and Class Rank

    Your GPA in high school shows colleges how successful you were in the field of academics and whether or not you buckled down and worked hard. Colleges look not only at your overall GPA but also at how well you did in individual classes. If your school has a class rank, that shows how much competition you faced with grades and performance to reach a particular level.

    AP and Honors ClassesBeing able to show prospective colleges that you challenged yourself academically is important. Admissions officers will look at AP, honors, International Baccalaureate and other college prep classes you take in high school to see how well you handled the course load as this is a good indicator of how youll do in college.

    Challenging Extracurricular ActivitiesColleges also want to see students who stretch themselves beyond the limits of the classroom. The kinds of activities you choose say a lot about your personality and even your morals. Whether or not you stick with your chosen undertakings exhibits your ability to commit to important projects in the long term.

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    Making The Most Of College Visits

    • Take a tour.
    • Arrange to sit in on a few classes that interest you.
    • Visit the financial aid office and ask questions.
    • Look through a copy of the campus newspaper.
    • Get a copy of the course catalog and check out the list of faculty and their credentials.
    • Spend the night in a dorm and eat at the dining hall.
    • Arrange a meeting with coaches if you will plan to pursue athletics.
    • Meet with the leader of any activity, club or organization that you may want to pursue.
    • Ask students on campus what they like best and least about the college.

    When Do You Apply For Early Admissions

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    Early admissions includes two options: early decision and early action. While early decision and early action differ in terms of their requirements and conditions, they share similar timelines. Both plans have a deadline in November and allow you to hear back about your admissions decision in mid-December.

    Some popular schools with early action deadlines of November 1 are CalTech, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, Notre Dame, Stanford, University of Virginia, and Yale. Popular early decision schools with a November 1 deadline include Boston University, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Northwestern, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt.

    Some schools with early decision now also offer an Early Decision II deadline, which is in . Like Early Decision I, this binding option lets you hear back early from your first choice school, usually in February, about whether or not you got in. The main advantage of applying Early Decision II is that youll have a little extra time to polish up your application before submitting it. Some popular schools with Early Decision II deadlines of January 1 are Brandeis, Colby, Emory, NYU, Smith, and Vanderbilt.

    Early admissions can be a great option for students who are prepared to apply early and appreciate early notification. If you’re planning to apply early, when do you complete each step of the process?

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