10 months ago
Admissions Advice

I am only applying to target/safety schools, is this an issue?

I am an average student all around, 1270 SAT, above average ECs, 4 recs, 3.7 GPA, so I am only applying to mid tier schools like VTech, UMN, UVM, and NCSU. I have no desire to go to a high tier university, and would be perfectly happy at a state school, but am I getting too comfortable only applying to targets/safeties? Should I try at least a couple reaches?

The hardest school I am applying to is Emerson College at a 30% chance.

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2 answers

10 months ago

There are a few practical matters for applying to some hard targets or reach schools.

1.) Financial aid- Unless you and your family are independently wealthy, some of the best-ranked school in the country say the Top 25 National Research Universities (not state ones but private ones) and Top 20 Liberal Arts colleges have the most progressive financial aid that offset the high costs so that they are less expensive than State colleges. If you do not know what I'm talking about, go to the Big Future section of CollegeBoard and look for the free tools and calculators. Put in schools like UNC, UVA, or Wake Forest and you will see that the Net Price Cost to you is perhaps lower than some of the schools you have listed.

2.) Resources - There is a positive correlation to better schools having better facilities, libraries, labs, and teaching staff than lesser schools. If you attend a school that is better funded and resourced you will be safer during the COVID-19 pandemic and have better learning experiences.

3.) Perks like travel abroad - Maybe you don't have current plans to travel abroad for a semester or full-year right now but that could change. The better schools have better abroad programs. So schools like Trinity College in CT, although it's a small liberal arts college, has some of the best travel abroad programs in the country.

4.) Variety - This is a personal choice. Some HS students know exactly what they like and want to be. I'm not sure what I like or want to be. Therefore I wanted only to apply to colleges that had a plethora of majors and courses and an endless amount of club activities. For me, I'd rather go to Disneyland than my local amusement part that had 1 rickety marginal rollercoaster. This applies to people as well. I wanted to attend a campus that had every type of person versus a narrow spectrum of people.

5. Rigor - Again this is a personal choice. I've always picked the hardest classes in HS and middle school because I love challenging myself because it forces me to step up and apply myself. I never enjoyed being the only smart kid in class that the teacher called upon to answer questions. I'd rather be average in a class of geniuses if that makes any sense. Just like you become a better athlete by surrounding yourself with better players, I truly believe you become a better student by surrounding yourself with the smart kids.

If you are 100% comfortable with your choices, there is absolutely no reason to change them for someone else. It's important for all of us to find "our people" and find "our purpose".

Good luck with your college decisions.

10 months ago

Where you go to college should be completely up to you, because at the end of the day it's you who is going to the college, not me. If you have no desire to go to a higher ranked university, then don't! Why put extra stress on yourself to write more essays, pay more application fees, and worry about more decisions. State schools are also awesome! They cost less than private schools, they can have more opportunities because they are bigger schools etc. Don't feel pressured to apply to higher ranked schools just because other people are. You know what's best for you. If you eventually decide that you do want to do it and apply to somewhere a little more selective then go for it, but don't feel forced to apply there.


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