What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Deciphering 'Reach School' in College Applications

Hey all, I've been doing some browsing through college forums, and I stumbled upon the term 'Reach School'. I'm assuming it has something to do with the college application process? Can someone delve into what it means and perhaps explain when a college should be considered a reach? Thanks, a slightly confused junior.

6 days ago

Hey there! A 'reach school' in college admissions refers to a college or university where your academic record (like GPA, course rigor, and standardized test scores, if the school considers them) falls short of or is at the lower end of the typical range for accepted students. Essentially, these are schools where gaining admission is more of a long shot. Applying to one or more reach schools can be a good idea, because every year students do get accepted into colleges that were initially considered reaches. However, they should not make up the majority of your list to maintain a balanced college application plan.

It's important to know that there are different kinds of reach schools. A 'High reach' school is one where your chance of acceptance is significantly lower than the school's overall acceptance rate. An 'Appropriate reach' school is one where your chance of acceptance is close to, but not above, the school's overall acceptance rate.

Whether a college is considered a reach depends on several factors, not just your academic record. It might also depend on your extracurricular activities and how they align with the school’s preferences. Highly selective colleges often look for applicants with a developed passion, also known as a "spike." This could make the difference in how they view your application even if your academics are lower than the school's typical range.

In addition to your personal profile, the general acceptance rate of the school is also a good indicator. Schools with very low overall acceptance rates, like many Ivy League schools, would be considered a reach for almost any student, due to their competitive nature.

Always remember that a reach school should be a place you’d still be happy to attend if accepted. It's better not to apply to a school just because of its prestige if it isn’t a fit for your goals and personality. Happy plotting on your college application journey!

6 days ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.