Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

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Our counselors answered:

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Hometown

There is no simple answer to the question of whether a hometown could affect a student's chances of admission, but the state of residency certainly does. There are some private colleges which allot a certain number of spaces to its own state; Brown does that for Rhode Island residents, and many state schools establish quotas that clearly favor their own. Conversely, there are colleges which favor geographic diversity. I can say with certainty that here in the Northeast, admission can be mighty tough because of the great numbers of qualified students. Sometimes they do better by applying at a distance. There are also particular schools which have a good reputation with admissions officers (e.g., a magnet school in an inner city) and that could be a competitive advantage. Yet that is the school, not really the hometown.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

Yes it does for sure

students should consider hometown first especially highly selective colleges.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

I think that your geographic location can have some effect on college admissions in two instances: 1. some public universities: in California, we have the University of California system and the Cal State University system. Like many public university systems, the UC system gives priority to in-state residents. However, more and more out-of-state students are being admitted in light of their ability to pay higher tuition to cash-strapped UCs. With regards to the Cal State system -- admissions is extremely localized. By that I mean that preference (and for some campuses like CSU Long Beach and CSU San Diego -- heavy preference) is given to students who live in the immediate vicinity of the campus. 2. extremely selective schools: some highly selective schools consider geographic diversity an important factor in compiling a "well-rounded" class. For that reason, admissions decisions may include a consideration of an applicant's hometown or home state. If you are from North Carolina or Alaska, you might have experiences and perspectives that are different and unique. That sort of diversity is valued by many schools.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

It could, but just because you were born in Sarajevo or Kalimantan won't assure it. There are just too many variables to answer this question definitively .

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

Geography can pay a role in college admissions. Colleges are looking for diversity on many fronts including where you are from in the world. I would doubt that it gets down to the town you live but which state or country is taken into consideration.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

While your hometown shouldn't make a difference, your school can. Colleges establish relationships with particular schools and know what it means to graduate from XYZ high school. They may recruit more heavily or less from yor school based on the reputation of the school. If your school has a favorable relationship with a particular college make sure you pay a visit when the admissions officer is in town.

Angela Conley
College Admission Expert VentureForth

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

Quiet as it is kept, diversity is more than race. If one derives from a small town, or place off the beaten track, it may impact your admission decision. Keep in mind that this includes the assumption that you've evidenced stellar achievement academically and otherwise. In discussions with students, I often cite the "big fish, small pond" example as a way to bring positive attention to your gifts. At the same time, those whose origin includes communities known for less than positive characteristics, may similarly be impacted.

Janelle Braverman
Educational Consultant Independent University Advisors, LLC

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

It may. This question really speaks to how admissions offices do their best to build a class with plenty of geographic diversity representing urban, suburban and rural areas from all corners of the country and for that matter, the world. A small liberal arts college in rural Vermont may get excited to get applications from urban areas in warm climates. Along those same lines, applying to Rice University as a Texan may be more difficult than it is for a student from rural Vermont. All that said, this question is far less important than whether you are a competitive student academically and personally within the context of the applicant pool of the university to which you are applying. Where you’re from won’t save you if your profile isn’t dynamic.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

Your hometown could impact your chances of getting in, both positively and negatively. If you are from an area that is underrepresented at the college, you may be pursued by the institution because they want the geographic diversity you would supply to their stats. Conversely, if your high school or surrounding high schools tend to see a lot of students applying to the same colleges, your chances decrease. Universities want a variety of students in their classes, so they won't automatically take every student who applies from the same area. In this case, you are not only competing against the applicant pool as a whole, but against your current classmates as well.

Mark Gathercole
University Advisor Independent University Advising

Does your hometown have any effect on your chances of getting in?

No, it really doesn't. Colleges want good students from everywhere - a mix of students from all kinds of places.