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Applying to the right number of colleges

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  • leaf green style avatar for user Tiffanie L.
    At , the video mentioned that writing "compelling essays" would increase your chances of getting into a reach school. What kind of information should a student include if they wanted to catch the attention of the admission department?
    (5 votes)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Jon Frank
      This is an awesome question, Tiffanie. It's great to see that you're paying close attention to the details of this process.

      To answer your question, there isn't any one thing colleges want to see. So there's no formula for what makes for a compelling essay! It's not that you should include some specific information to make your essay stand out more; rather, it's HOW you write your essay, and HOW you tell your story.

      One of the biggest mistakes students make is trying to get into the heads of the admissions committee and create essays they THINK the admissions officers want to read. 1) As I said above, there's no one specific thing they want to see. And 2) the best essays are the most passionate and honest. And those only come from writing about something you truly care about or believe in!

      So that is what you should do: choose a topic that you truly care about. One that really speaks to who you are, what you're passionate about, and highlights you as a really cool, unique, interesting student who is going to bring awesome things to their campus. Don't fall into the trap of trying to use your essay to list off your many accomplishments. They can see that in your activities list! Instead, think hard about who you ARE and what you care about, and why that college should want you on their campus.

      The topic itself isn't as important as what it reveals about YOU.

      Remember: the people reading your apps are just that: PEOPLE! They have feelings and emotions! You want to write the kinds of essays that make them stand up and fight for you.

      Of course, writing that kind of essay is easier said than done! And I know that a lot of students struggle with brainstorming, so here are a few resources that should help get you started:

      http://admissionado.com/resources/essays/common-app/
      http://admissionado.com/college/college-app-greatest-hits-brainstorming-exercise/

      Good luck!
      (10 votes)
  • hopper cool style avatar for user Saruman
    So is she doubting you saying you won't get into College and will need Back-up schools. I mean it make sense to have back-up, but why waste you time on filling out forms to go to a probably cheaper school, where you don't have to be all that smart to get into to, now when I say all that smart I don't mean really dumb, but pretty smart. And if you want a particular major and only a few schools have the program you like, why apply to schools, where they don't have that major or that major program you don't like. You would have to like all 12 schools that you applied for, because then why would you want to waste your money doing something you don't like?
    (3 votes)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Jon Frank
      You make a great point, Patrick. Why should you apply to a school if it's not going to offer you what you need? And you're right! If you want to study something very specific, you should definitely not apply to a school that doesn't offer that subject/program.

      BUT... that doesn't mean you shouldn't have some back-up or safe schools on your list, my friend! The trick is, you need to create a school list that includes a wide range of schools: some reach programs, some match programs, and some safe options.

      You should not include any schools on the list that don't offer you what you need, of course. But you SHOULD include schools that DO offer everything you want/need in a school, but are a good backup plan just in case you don't get into one of your other reach or match schools.

      Does that make sense?

      The college admissions process is complicated and you never want to risk your chances by only applying to reach schools, or even match schools. You just never know what will happen. So, yes, spend the extra time to fill out apps to some safer options. You will be much better off getting admitted to those programs and choosing not to go, than not applying and run the risk of not getting in anywhere!

      Hope that helps!
      -- Jon Frank
      (3 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user stefanie.lau
    Why do people always suggest just 12 applications (4 reach, 4 match, 4 safety)? What's the danger of applying to more if you can afford (or find funds) for it?
    (1 vote)
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  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Emily Kappler
    So what about if my situation makes any school a reach?
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Jon Frank
      That's highly unlikely! There are so many schools out there, after all! We just need to broaden your horizons a bit and see what else is out there for you. Which schools are on your list right now? And why do you think ALL schools would be a reach?
      (2 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Rebekah Knorr
    I'm a 16 year old 9th grader taking advanced courses as well as allot of courses in theatre and production. I'm still not sure what career I want but was recently informed that Ringling College wants to meet me. What should I do?
    (1 vote)
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    • old spice man green style avatar for user Max Feltes
      Start by looking at majors in that college, and look at those that seem interesting and you might enjoy. Ask counselors/professors about those majors, but keep your options open. When you meet with Ringling, tell them your interests, and see what they have that interests you. Hope that helps!
      (1 vote)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Dylan Montgomery
    What's the total cost (tuition, books, food, transportation, etc.) for college if I was going long enough to get an Associate's Degree?
    (1 vote)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user spongebob
    "So is it right to apply for alot of colleges im going for music and playing basketball but i do not know if it will be correct to apply for a lot of colleges i thought that was only for scholarships"?
    Za'Qwon H.
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf red style avatar for user brynketia
      You should try to have a range of schools that fit in the category listed on the video. Its not necessary to apply to 12 but if you find 12 schools that you wouldn't mind going to that fit those categories based on your stats (standardized test scores, gpa, etc.) then so be it. For scholarships you want to apply to as many as possible but I wouldn't necessarily apply that principle to college apps because they can get pricey when you submit more.
      (1 vote)
  • leaf orange style avatar for user Matthew Ouzts
    Why should you even go to "reach" schools? Why not just go to a community collage for less money, than transfer to your desired school?
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf orange style avatar for user Benny C
      Community college is not an option for everyone, especially if you already have the money. Some may not have community colleges around them. Some community colleges don't offer what you want, and it'll only cause you to take an extra 2 years in school.
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user meeramalhotra
    When they refer to GPA do they mean weighted or unweighted
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user jennifergarcia20
    Would this be the same approach when applying to grad school (in this case medical school)? I have a high G.P.A and strong extracurricular/experiences that make me stand out. I am a bit worried from my low MCAT practice scores....
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

- So you always want to apply to three different types of schools. You want to apply to your reach schools. Your reach schools are going to be those schools that you're not going to necessarily confident that you can get into, but you have a strong pull towards wanting to apply to Yale let's say, but you were a 3.8 GPA student, your SAT scores just aren't strong enough and don't match what they outline as their requirements, you can definitely apply to those schools. We call them reach schools, but you can write a compelling enough essay that you might catch the admissions department's attention to read over your essay and say, you know, we want to actually meet this student, see what the student is about and bring them onto our campus. We think they have enough value and enough of a story in their background that they could bring diversity to our campus. Something unique about them. Then you have your fit schools. - Those schools that are right within range with your grades and your test scores. - Then you have your backup schools. So you are determined to go to college, that's where you want to be and so we always want to make sure that you have some sort of backup just in case. So these might be your... - Schools that perhaps don't need as high a GPA or highest scores as you have and those are called safety's or schools that you can be pretty sure will admit you. - We usually take the concept of applying four reach schools, four best fit schools and four backup schools and you'll have a whole range of opportunities with that mindset.