A BALANCED LIST
Potentially, the most emotionally difficult aspect of creating the college list is choosing and sticking with several schools to which the student is quite likely to gain admission. Every parent understands the rich talents and personality of his/her child and has come to view certain schools as excellent and others as adequate. The challenge is finding several schools that both the student and parent feel are strong and to which the likelihood of admission is excellent. However, if the search continues on too long, it can sidetrack the student from senior fall courses and constructing strong applications to an already established list. Highlighted below are two areas in which parents and students can make this part of the process easier:
1.) Last year’s admission rates were the most selective of all time, and with more students predicted to apply to colleges this fall, it will likely be another record year. While this has made the more prestigious schools even more competitive, it has also made less well-known schools both more demanding and composed of stronger students. Consequently, before students dismiss a school because they have not heard of it or because they know someone who attended several years ago and found it unimpressive, they should do their own research into what that college is like today. Yesterday’s weaker school may be a college of high quality today.
2.) When visiting schools for the first time, consider visiting schools other than those that are among the most competitive for admission.
A BALANCED LIST
Ideally, when creating a balanced list of schools, we recommend that you include two to three likely, two to three probable, two to three reach, and that you individually discuss super reach schools that are reasonable for the student’s time, energy, and financial situation.
We want to try to avoid the current trend of the scattergun approach, where students blanket admission offices with as many as 15-20 applications. Colleges prefer to invite students who they believe will actually attend, as this will increase their yield, which subsequently makes them appear more attractive. Because of this scattergun trend, admission offices are finding it more difficult to identify the sure bets. Increasingly, admission offices are likely to count students’ every phone call and visit. A recent survey by the National Association of Admission Counseling found that nearly 55 percent of higher education institutions now consider “demonstrated interest” when making admission decisions.