With the passing of Labor Day, summer is officially behind us, and for current seniors, now it's time to get serious about knocking out college applications in the next few months.

In order to get a handle on the application workload over the next couple of months, your first step is to make sure you have a balanced college list. I typically define a balanced list as having the following: 

  • 6 - 10 total applications (if you can submit to multiple campuses through a single, static application -- for example, the University of California schools -- then that counts as ONE application):
  • at least 2 likely schools: 75% chance or above
  • at least 2 target schools: 35% - 75% chance
  • at least 2 reach schools: under 35%
SOURCE: https://colleges.niche.com/tulane-university/

SOURCE: https://colleges.niche.com/tulane-university/

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Make sure, first, to ask whether the colleges on your list recalculate GPA. If so, what is their methodology? Again, to use the UC system as an example, those schools evaluate only your grades from 10 - 12th grade. They do weight for approved honors classes, but they cap the total number of extra credits that can be counted toward that weighting. If you want quick assistance with GPA recalculation, check out this tool from the website Alfouro. (I'd love to know what you think!)
  2. Next, check out the scattergrams that plot acceptances in terms of GPA and test scores. Naviance does this, if your high school has an account, but you can also look at Niche.com or Cappex.com at individual school profiles.
  3. Last: go to Parchment.com and create a free profile. Take your time with this one! This is a company that securely transmits official transcripts between institutions like high schools and colleges, and so they have the insider's scoop on the kinds of profiles students who are accepted, denied, and waitlisted at various colleges applied with.

That's it for now. If you're looking for extra help or wondering how to find good-fit schools to add, come back soon for more! Or drop me a line.