Archive for April, 2014


Hopefully you have created your college target list. If you haven’t started your college target list yet, click here to see how to easily get started.

Once you have started your college target list you should really go through all of your schools and start ranking them based on how they score on some important decision factors. Click here to review the different decision factors you should be using to help you create and rank your college target list.

The next step for managing your college target list is to use the different decision factors and start identifying which category to place each school in: Reach, Target or Safety. We recommend that each category should have at least 5-10 schools.

In order to determine which category each school falls into, it is important to know which each category really means. Below we have broken down each category and provided some additional information to help you identify which schools belong in each category:

Reach Schools

Definition: A reach school is a college that you have a chance of getting into, but your test scores, class rank and/or high school grades are a bit on the low side compared to the school’s profile.

These are schools that you just might get into. These are labeled your dream or reach schools for a reason. While you may fall short on some of the requirements you could try to make up for it in other areas.

Expect strong competition for your reach schools and make sure to manage your expectations when applying to these schools. Your odds might not seem great, but you need to make sure you apply to your reach schools. You definitely won’t get in if you don’t apply!

Target Schools

Definition: A target school is a college that you are pretty likely to get into because your test scores, class rank and/or high school grades fall in line with school’s profile.

These are schools that you should feel pretty confident that you will be accepted to. Your target schools should be places that you really want to go to. You should meet all or at least most of the requirements and test scores for these schools.

Be sure to consider multiple factors when reviewing the schools profile. Your location could play a key role as State schools often favor in-state students. If you are applying to out-of-state schools, you may need to exceed the requirements.

Safety Schools

Definition: A safety school is a college that you will almost certainly get into because your test scores, class rank and/or high school grades are well above average when you are reviewing the school’s profile.

These schools you should feel the most confident about: You are going to get in! These aren’t your dream schools, but you should have some interest in your safety schools. You should be on the high end or exceed all of the requirements for these schools.

It’s important to have your safety schools just in case you don’t get into your reach and target schools. Your safety schools might provide other criteria that is more beneficial for your family (i.e. less expensive than your target and reach schools). They may also offer a scholarship or other perks that weren’t available at your other target schools.

Additional Advice:

Don’t Forget to do Your Research

•We recommend using a “bottom up” approach while making your college target list. While determining your reach schools is important, you should first focus on finding the schools that fall under your safety and target criteria.

•Understand your eligibility for admission at a particular school by getting familiar with the school’s admitted student profile.

Be Well Rounded

•While you may fall short on some requirements, you can make up for it other areas.

•Athletics can help lower the requirements in other areas.

•Volunteer Work, extracurricular activities and involvement in school organizations are also other great ways to boost your opportunities

Separating your schools will help you manage your expectations throughout the admissions process. It will help ensure you set some ambitious goals for yourself, but you also give yourself some back up options as well.

Tell us how your target list and different categories are coming along. Leave us a comment in the comments section below.

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