Choosing the right colleges to apply to can be a stressful process. There are many factors that go into applying to college, so I would like to provide some helpful tips.
The first thing you should do is make a list of schools that have a good program for the major you are interested in. This can take a lot of time and research, as there are many good schools, with a variety of different programs. If you are unsure of what to major in after doing research about different career paths, you can apply to colleges as undeclared and decide on a major after taking classes in different subjects during your first and second year of college.
After making a list of the colleges you are interested in, it is important to pick out your safety, match, and reach schools. A safety school is a school that you are guaranteed to get into. This means that your GPA and test scores exceed those of what is required by admissions. It is important to apply to safety schools as a backup, in case you do not get into the schools you want to get accepted to.
Match schools are schools that you are likely to get into. The required GPA and test scores to get into these schools are equivalent to yours, so although it is probable that you will get in, there is a slight chance that you will not get accepted, which is why you have your safety schools. Most people will attend one of their match colleges.
Finally, reach colleges are colleges where your GPA and test scores are below those that are required by admissions. However, this does not necessarily mean that you won’t get into that college. Colleges consider many factors apart from GPA and test scores, such as volunteering hours and leadership experience.
Alongside experience in volunteering and leadership, colleges also value your application essays. When writing your application essays, it is important to let others peer review. Personally, getting feedback from my friends and family members improved my college essays tremendously. If you are writing an essay geared for a specific major, try finding people in that major to help you peer review it. Lastly, don’t be afraid to take risks and be yourself. Colleges like to see who you are as an individual, and not who you think they want you to be.