Creating your college list is the first step in planning your future. There are so many factors to keep in mind, such as location, major, and school size. However, these factors can only filter out so many schools. To create a set college list, you have to consider looking at what is best for you. Out of the thousands of colleges out there, you can only select a few to apply to. This can be a hassle, especially if you have to choose between a couple that you really like. Let’s look at some ways to start organizing your lists, and maybe make the process a little easier.A “reach” school is a school that is harder to get into with your stats (GPA, activities, etc.). These are usually super competitive schools like Harvard, Yale, UCLA, or Rice, but they could also be any schools whose average GPA or test scores are higher than yours. Regardless, do not let this discourage you. Just because it is a “reach” does not mean it is impossible to get in. It just means that it is a little riskier to apply to. A “match” school is a school that is the perfect fit for you statistically. This means the average GPA or test scores are very similar to yours, and your chances of getting in are really good. Even though you are a perfect fit, do not underestimate it! Do not slack on those essays, because your spot is not necessarily guaranteed, even if you think you have a “guaranteed shot.”Finally, a “safety” school is a school that you have an amazing shot of getting into, meaning that the average GPA or test scores are lower than yours. These schools are perfect to add to the list, as a “safety” measure. Just in case you don’t get into your match schools, safety schools are still there for you to lean on! Consider doing a “3-4-3” method if you are applying to 10 schools for example. This means applying to three “reach” schools, four “match” schools, and three “safety” schools (more match schools because you have better chances of getting into those competitively). However, this can be done with any ratio, such as “1-2-1” for four schools or “2-3-2” for six schools. Regardless, the way this is organized is completely up to what works best for you! I highly recommend using Niche for this, as they have an amazing tool that allows you to see the likelihood of you getting accepted to the school! For this, consider anything under 35% a “reach”, anything between 36%-65% a “match”, and anything above 66% a “safety!”
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