Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket. Get the Balance Right.
Several years ago, Scott was working with a family in Phoenix, Arizona. Their daughter had a list of 10 schools to which she was applying. Perfect! However, when he saw the list, Scott challenged them because all 10 were stretch schools. The family was confident in the list and sure she would have a good number of acceptances from which to choose.
She was rejected by nine and wait-listed by one.
|CLASSIFYING YOUR HIGHER EDUCATION OPTIONS
||You are positioned well in the upper 25% of the incoming freshman class or you are applying to an open enrollment school.
||At least one (1)
||You are positioned in the top 50% of the incoming freshman class.
||Four (4) or five (5)
||You are positioned in the bottom 25% of the incoming freshman class or aren’t sure you can get accepted.
Fortunately, the story turns out happily for this student. She was accepted by the wait-list school 3 months later. But that family went through 3 months of needless torture wondering every day if a letter from the wait-list school would arrive in the mail. Ever since that experience, Scott has become a fanatic about the College Selection Strategy and the application guidelines we outline here on eduLaunchpad.com.
You should always apply to at least one Safety School to account for the worst case scenario. If something happens which prevents you from going to other schools, this is the one place where you know you will get in no matter what. Community colleges are typical safety schools because they are generally open enrollment but your safety school can be any school where you are well into the top 25% of the incoming freshman class.
You should apply to four or five match schools and ensure that the affordability rating is strong for the majority of universities in this list. These are schools which you are very interested in attending and you have a very good chance of getting in. Applying to 4 or 5 match schools increases your chances of colleges having to compete for you. When you are accepted to these schools, your decision on which to attend will often be based on the financial aid package they offer.
If you are so inclined, you might apply to a few stretch schools. A student will often apply to a stretch school because it is their dream school. Your chances of acceptance are not good and if you are accepted, it will often be more expensive, but if it is a college you truly want to attend, don’t not apply because you might be rejected.