Underclassmen: How do You Measure Your Chances for Admissions?
How competitive for college admissions will you be in the future? This is based on several factors. Some factors are more measurable in the college applications process than others. The easily measured factors include:
- Your GPA
- Your tests scores on ACT, AP, SAT or Subject tests
Less measurable, but equally important in your college application process are:
- How hard you challenged yourself in your course schedule
- Activities you were involved in during high school
- Contributions you made to your community
- Your love of learning
- Your life’s experiences
Using Measurable Factors
Check admissions data for each college on your list. Look at the range of SAT or ACT scores, and GPA’s. Your test scores will put you in one of three zones for the college: red, yellow or green.
What puts a school in your RED zone?
Your test scores are lower than the average scores at the college
The college has a low acceptance rate (typically under 20%
What puts a school in your YELLOW zone?
Your test scores are in the mid 50% range, along with most other students
The college has an acceptance rate of 20-60%
What puts a school in your GREEN zone?
Your test scores are in the top 25% of students
The college has acceptance rates of 60-100%
How many schools should you have in each zone?
1-3 in the RED zone. These are your DREAM or REACH colleges. This is where immeasurable factors can be very influential
2-5 in the YELLOW zone. These are your EXPECTED or TARGET colleges. A majority of your college list should be in this zone. It is your sweet spot for college admissions.
1-4 in the GREEN zone. This is your FOR SURE or SAFETY colleges. These are very important especially for financial aid or merit scholarship potential.
Use the measurable factors to start creating your college list. Create a file and store in a folder on your computer. You need colleges in the red, yellow and green zones. Your ACT or SAT scores determine your chance zones. Use PSAT or PLAN scores as alternatives to SAT or ACT scores to determine your chance zones.