3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Why so many schools?

Hey yall! I'm a rising senior and have been pretty clueless about the college admissions process, I would like to ask why so many schools are needed/recommended to be on our college lists? I honestly have only had 2 colleges in mind for years; according to CollegeVine they are both safety schools. How should I expand my list? I've been picky selecting potential colleges to attend.

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

It's refreshing to read that you are not obsessed with the college admissions process and would be happy to attend the 2 safety schools you have picked. That reminds me of the sentiment from my parent's generation or my grandparent's generation. They truly believed in hard work and that it didn't matter where you went to college. What mattered was what you knew and what you could do.

I think much of that is lost in the college admissions process and students and families are now extremely competitive over who gets in where. In my circle of friends, I noticed that some friends who were like-minded were my allies through this process, and they helped give me feedback on essays. Others ghosted me or just checked out and had nothing supportive to say during the entire process. Even today, a few weeks before they go to their colleges, they can't say congrats or hope you like your school or anything kind. I know some of these girls from playing soccer and softball from age 5. Even though I know it's not my fault, I feel that our time has expired and I'll never see them again. There is only so much texting and calling you to want to expend before it becomes futile.

My take on colleges is that there are plenty of good ones out there and compared to your High School, some of them are freakin awesome. When I took a college tour in person 2 years ago, my dad and I looked at Ivys, MIT, and a bunch of girls colleges like Smith, Mt.Holyoke, Wellesley, and small liberal arts colleges like Williams, Amherst, Vassar, Trinity. I think we looked at 20 schools and I only didn't like 1 of them (Wesleyan) because I felt it bordered a sketch neighborhood that you had to pass through to get to the main shopping street/coffee bars and restaurants. As a woman, I didn't feel I'd be safe walking there even in the middle of the day. Other than that, I felt I'd be really happy at any of them even though they were all very different and had different admit rates or prestige factors.

I think it is perfectly okay to like 2 colleges but I strongly recommend that you open your horizons to other possibilities. There are over 4300 colleges in the US and each of them has its own vibe, their own pluses, and minuses. There is a high degree of probability that there are better colleges out there that will serve your needs better than the ones you've picked.

Some things that you haven't considered might be a factor in picking your ideal college experiences. Here's a list of factors and you can do your own research or look them up on a portal like Niche or do a search on YouTube and you can visually see what I'm talking about.

-Food- It's true some schools have better food than others. And some schools are located in a food desert where there isn't a good restaurant within 25 miles. So if you care about food, you might want to find a college that has good eating choices.

-Dorms- Some colleges have really old dank dorms and other have dorms that look like Las Vegas hotels so pick a college that has a personal space you will appreciate.

-Greek Life - Some colleges have epic Greek life opportunities others, not so much or not at all. If you ever thought of yourself joining a Frat or Sorority and have a thriving social life, you should pick wisely.

-Travel Abroad Programs - If you ever imagined studying Italian in Florence Italy or French in Paris or eating a bowl of ramen in the middle of Tokyo, and creating amazing travel memories, you definitely want to pick a college that has a great abroad program.

-Clubs - Some schools have amazing clubs to join others not so much. So if your interest is in something specific like Stand up Comedy or Feeding the Homeless, or Singing, it's important that you find a school that will support your passions.

- Dating - Some religious colleges make you sign a contract not to engage intimately with other cohorts during your time there, others are quite liberal and will let you be who you want to be with whomever you want to be with. So you should pick a school that aligns with your dating goals. Maybe you don't have any now but if you imagine yourself without your boyfriend or girlfriend, what then? Or maybe you are not interested right now, but maybe 1/2 through college you'll want that.

-Career counseling and networking - Some colleges have excellent on-campus recruiting by large companies who host special events to meet future employees, others not so much. Some colleges have dedicated building with staff to help you write your resume, establish skills that help your marketability, and help set up interviews and assist you in the job search process.

I will stop here but my point is that you are committing 4 years of your life to this place, it's not like High School. You will have to be more independent and take on more challenges and experiences to evolve into the best version of yourself. Therefore it's very important not to think about what you like about a college today but whether this institution will give you all the support and resources to help you over the next 4 years to turn you into the future person you want to be.

If the 2 you picked serve you best, then go for it. All I'm suggesting is that you spend more time researching and visiting colleges (even virtually) to see what you are missing out on .

3 years ago

Usually, students pick schools from 3 different categories: safety, target, and reach. Safety schools are schools you will most likely get into (your grades, extracurriculars, etc. all exceed the average person that gets admitted). Target schools are schools in which you meet the standard/match the demographic. Reach schools are schools that are extremely selective or one in which you might not meet the standard.

Students might want to apply to 2-4 schools from each category to maximize the chances of them getting into their dream school so that can add up (because it is never guaranteed that you will get into your safety or that you will not get into your reach school).

If you want to expand your list, you will definitely need to do some research. Only you know what kind of school or environment that you like or would potentially thrive in. You can use plenty of websites to choose schools based on price, size, location, and specialties ( for instance, if you want to be a doctor, look for schools that specialize in premed).

Good Luck!!!

3 years ago

Which two colleges are you currently looking at? How competitive are your GPA/class rank and ACT/SAT scores?

First of all, are there any other colleges you could be happy attending? I only have two schools on my list that I am considering (both Safeties), but they are the only schools I would ever want to attend.

I would suggest that you explore other colleges that meet your wishes for the perfect college (size, location, public/private, etc.). Look at other colleges in your state. If you are religious, explore colleges affiliated with your religion. Look at different universities' websites.

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)

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