The Ultimate College Application Workbook

Are You Stressed About Your Child's College Applications?

If so, now's the time to learn how to:

  • Understand What Admissions Committees Want
  • Help Your Child Highlight Their Strengths
  • Figure Out the True Costs Before Applying

Where Should I Send the Download?

Here are three tips to increase your odds of admission in your college search.

First off, you should ensure that there is at least one college in your college search to which you will easily be admitted. Sometimes these schools are referred to as “safety” schools or “slam dunks”.

Why is it so important to make sure that you have at least one college that will essentially guarantee admission? Because college admissions have become cutthroat recently. There has been a big spike in the number of college applicants in the past few years and college admissions are particularly competitive at this moment due to what demographers call a “baby boomlet”.

Because college admissions are so freakishly competitive, it is critical that you apply to at least one college that will almost assuredly admit you. To determine if a college is a sure thing for you, check out to see where your academic credentials are above the midrange of accepted students’ records. And remember, it is important that you would happily attend this college if need be.

Second, you should tailor your college search to match your academic record—most of your colleges should fall into the category of being an excellent academic match for you. In other words, at least four of the schools on in your college search should accept students in the same range of your academics.

You should have a good idea of the level of academic credentials that each school requires. While no one can guarantee college admissions, the odds are definitely in your favor given that your academic record closely resembles the records of recently admitted students. And that’s exactly what you want to do: stack the odds of college admissions in your favor.

In addition to applying to slam dunk colleges as well as academic match schools, you may also consider including a “reach” school in your college search. Reach schools refer to schools where the average academic records of recently accepted students are a bit higher than your credentials.

Why should you even consider reach colleges? Well, if there is a specific reason that you are interested in the college—like a unique academic specialty that they have—then you might consider adding that college to your college search. Because your academics are a bit lower, your odds of admission are diminished, but if you are really interested in the college, consider applying.

Do not, however, apply to more than one or two reach colleges. Not only is this a waste of time and money, but it also contributes to overall college application stress. You want to stack the college admission odds in your favor as much as possible and reach schools are just that: a reach.

The final thing to keep in mind is that your final college search list should consist of six to eight colleges that you would be happy to attend. If you are just not that into a college on your final college list, drop it. Don’t waste time and money applying to a school that you don’t like or have no intention of attending even if you are accepted.

Question: Why do students put so many schools on their college search lists?

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