How to Find the Right School for You
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Ronni Shaw in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.
What does “the best” mean? You might think it’s a name everybody recognizes, but that isn’t necessarily what’s best for you.
Instead, you need to figure out what the best fit is for you. Your CollegeVine advisor, parents, and guidance counselor can give you support and help you figure out that ideal fit.
Remember that there’s more than one fit. There may be some schools that look like the best fit for some reasons and other schools that look like the best fit for a host of other unrelated reasons.
Keep in mind that as you build your categories you’re looking for the different ways that you might find a fit with different schools. For example, if you’re a budding engineer who also loves to play the piano, you might look for some schools with strong engineering programs, along with colleges that are known for their orchestras. If you’re a junior, this is, of course, just preliminary — certain categories may not make it into the final category list when you apply as a senior.
A balanced school list includes multiple schools that are across the spectrum of acceptance rates; more specifically you should have schools that fall under each category — reach, target, and safety. Typically, we suggest creating a list of schools that includes roughly 50% target schools and 25% each for safety and reach schools.
Make sure your safety schools are schools you actually want to go to. Don’t waste your time, money, or effort applying to a school where you wouldn’t be happy. If you’re having trouble finding a safety school that seems like a good fit, then seek out help or spend some time conducting research.
Ultimately, you should end up with some safety schools that really excite you, even if you’re excited about them for reasons that are different from other schools on your list.
Wondering how you can create a balanced list of colleges that are a great fit for you? Explore colleges based on different criteria, such as location, majors and programs offered, size, and much more using our school search tool.
Plus, you can find out your chances of getting into the schools that do interest you with our free chancing engine. You’ll also receive tips on how to improve your profile to boost your odds of being accepted into your dream college.