We break down the important criteria to consider, such as location, size, and tuition, as well as explaining foundation, match, and reach schools, all of which should be on your list.
It is not about finding the best school: it is about finding the best school for you. When researching schools, think about what characteristics you want in your ideal school.
* Would you prefer to be at a large public university or a small liberal arts college?
Also, think about location:
* Would you like to be in a city, in the suburbs, or in a rural area?
* Do you want to be far away from home or close to home? (Keep in mind that travel can add significantly to the expense of college).
Some other criteria to consider:
* What is the average class size?
* Do most freshmen live on campus?
* What kind of athletics and extracurriculars does the school offer?
* Are there fraternities or sororities?
* What is there to do on the weekends?
* How much is tuition?
* What percentage of students receives scholarships or financial aid?
When compiling the list of schools to which you want to apply, look at your transcript and make sure that you are including schools that are foundations, matches, and reaches.
A foundation school is one for which you are realistically confident that you will be accepted. Your grades and test scores should exceed the school’s average for an incoming freshman.
A match school is one for which you cannot be certain that you will be admitted, but your chances are reasonable. Your grades and test scores should match or be slightly higher than those of an average incoming freshman.
A reach school is one for which you have an outside chance of being accepted. Your grades and test scores may be below the average of an incoming freshman at the school.
We strongly encourage that you have a good mix of all three categories in the list of schools to which you apply. And it is important that you feel good about all the schools on your list, including your foundations, because you do not want to be disappointed if you are not accepted into your first choice school(s).