Match schools for the college application process

If you’re planning on attending college, take the steps to determine your match schools for the college application process.

High school seniors may have plans to attend college when they graduate from high school. For seniors who plan to attend college, they may have an idea of which colleges they want to apply to. Colleges have different requirements for admission for prospective students. There are different types of categories for the colleges they apply to depending on their academic ability. For example, the Princeton Review gives a description of three types of schools for students to apply to: dream school, match school and safety school. For the moment, let’s focus on a match school. The Princeton Review defines a match school as “where your academic credentials (grades, SAT or ACT scores and class rank) fall well within the school’s average range for the most recently accepted class. There are no guarantees, but it’s not unreasonable to expect to be accepted to several of your match schools.”

Before applying to a dream (or reach school) and a safety school, it is important to understand where you fall academically to apply for a match school. Here are some suggestions to help with this process. First, research and make a list of colleges you’re interested in attending. Then, check your academic records (high school transcripts) and test scores (SAT or ACT) and compare it with the academic standards your college of interest uses for their admissions. Meet with your high school counselor if you need any information related to your academic records.

If you have the GPA, SAT or ACT score and class rank that fall well in range with the college’s admission standards, label the college a match school. If the college’s admission standards are higher than your academic credentials, label the college a dream or reach school, and take the steps necessary to apply to your reach schools. If your academic credentials surpass the college’s admission standards, label the college a safety school and take the steps necessary to apply to your safety schools. To make sure you have the colleges labeled correctly, meet with your high school counselor to confirm your list of match, reach and safety schools.

To help with your chances of getting admitted to your match schools, participate in different extracurricular activities like different clubs in high school, band or orchestra, sports, community service or service learning clubs or 4-H. Michigan State University Extension also suggests joining an extracurricular activity related to your talents, hobbies, your favorite classes or classes you excel in, a social cause you’re interested in and a potential major you’re interested in for college.

Take the time to get the information and find your match schools first, stretch for the reach schools and have a back-up plan with the safety schools.

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