Tips for Applying to Reach Schools
From the US News blog: Two current undergrads offer advice for applicants on choosing long-shot colleges.
“To determine if a school is a ‘reach,’ look at the test scores of last year’s class of admitted students,” Dyke wrote in an email. “If your test scores or GPA are not within the middle 50%, that school counts as an academic reach. That being said, if any school has an admission rate of under 10 or 15%, it should be considered a reach, even if you have a 4.0 GPA and a 36 on your ACT.”
However, Dyke also encourages applicants to consider other factors when looking at colleges, such as campus culture, geographic location, the strength of particular academic departments, the absence or presence of noteworthy professors as well as distribution requirements, or the general education courses students are required to take.
High school students can ask themselves: Am I choosing a reach school simply for its name or top 10 ranking, or is there a compelling reason for my interest, such as the desire to work with a specific professor?
With reach schools, your odds of admission are naturally lower. “Elite colleges and universities have enough qualified applicants to fill a freshman class two, three, or even four times over,” Dyke says.
This does not mean receiving an acceptance letter is impossible, but instead that it is an uncertain outcome dependent on a wide range of factors. If a reach school appears at the top of your short list for meaningful reasons, be sure to build a compelling case in your application for how you can positively influence the campus.
To read more, go to the US News website.