How to Decide Where to Apply to College
Last updated March 24, 2022
After you’ve researched and identified a list of colleges you’re interested in applying to, your next step is to begin the actual process of applying. You’ll find that you might have to make some tough decisions about applying to the colleges you’ve identified on your list, since you’ll most likely have to pay application fees for most of the schools you apply to. As you prepare to apply to college, start by taking these steps to help you narrow your list:
Categorize your schools
Categorize the schools you’re applying to into Reach, Safety, and Match by using the data colleges publish on their average admitted student GPA and ACT/SAT test scores and comparing them with your own. This will help determine if the school is a Reach, Safety, or Match school.
- Reach schools are the ones you dream of going to, but are a bit more competitive to get into, due to things like small acceptance rates, minimum GPAs or test scores, or even high costs of tuition.
- Safety schools are schools you feel confident about getting accepted to, even if they’re not necessarily at the very top of your list.
- Match schools are schools you have a strong chance of getting admitted to. Your test scores, GPA, or coursework typically match those of other incoming students at these schools.
Plan your in-person or virtual visits
Visiting a college is a great way to decide whether or not you want to apply to it! Whether you’re touring a college in-person or virtually, they can give you a better feel for its academics, student life, and things going on around campus. These tours can be so important to help you narrow down your list of schools you actually apply to - so don’t sleep on them! Use our FREE college tour note sheet to keep all your thoughts, notes, and questions organized! Just click the button below.
Join alumni and current student groups online
Most colleges have thriving online communities on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. These groups, made up of current students and alumni, are welcoming spaces that students interested in attending a certain college can join to get real, experienced-based answers to their most pressing questions about it.
Talk to us!
We know that applying to college can be incredibly stressful - but we’re here to help! Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our college advisors about applying to college, or leave us a comment on Instagram @getschooled!