How competitive for admissions will you be at a given school? This is based on several factors. Some factors are more objectively measurable in the college applications process than others. The easily measured factors include:
- Your GPA
- Your tests scores on ACT, SAT, Subject Tests and AP.
Less measurable, but equally important in your college application process are:
- The quality (rigor) of your course schedule
- Your resume of activities, work, and other experiences
- 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: green, yellow or red.
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%
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 RED zone?
- your test scores are lower than the average scores at the college
- the college has a low acceptance rate (typically under 20%)
How many schools should you have in each zone?
- 1-4 in the GREEN zone. These are your SURE BETS or SAFETY colleges. For schools in this zone you can often expect to receive merit scholarship awards.
- 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.
- 1-3 in the RED zone. These are your REACH colleges. This is where immeasurable factors can be very influential.
As you start building your college list, keep in mind the different zones. You should have a balance of colleges from each zone on your list. The My Chances tool in your GuidedPath can give you an idea of what zone your fall in for each school on your list. Your ACT or SAT scores generate your My Chances zones. If you haven’t taken the ACT or SAT yes, use PSAT or PLAN scores as alternatives to get My Chances zones.
Follow these steps to check your zones:
- Enter test scores from tests you have already taken into Guidedpath.
- Explore college profiles, using GuidedSearch.
- Click on My Chances in each college profile.