and it’s amazing
but wait there’s more
omg and then
and it’s amazing
but wait there’s more
omg and then
Match schools are the meat and potatoes of your college list. They’re the foundation, they’re the focus, and they’re, quite simply, the most important.
I’d argue that there are three types of match school.
The True Match-
A true match is a school that you have a good chance of getting into. You’d say you’re more likely than not going to get in. You like the school, you’re pretty sure you can afford it, and you’d definitely consider going if accepted.
This is the wonderful shining star of a school. This school is your best friend. You should have more of this type of school than any other type of school.
This is what you should star your college search with, because this is the most important school on your list.
The Low Match-
Not quite a safety, but not a true match either. This school is somewhere in between.
A low match is a great school. You’re pretty positive you’ll get in. Something about it keeps it from being a true, real, 100% safety school, but it’s pretty darn close.
Often a low match is classified as such because you’re on the high end of the middle 50%, but not outside of it. Or perhaps you’re not certain you can afford it.
But, again, a low match needs to be a school you’d be happy to attend. If you wouldn’t want to go, why would you waste the time and money to apply?
The High Match-
In my perfect world, there would be no reaches, there would only be high matches.
This is a school you’re qualified for. Super qualified for. But it’s a bit trickier to nail down as a school you’re “confident” about. You know you have a real shot, you’re just not sure about it.
And that’s okay.
A high match is a school that you’d like to attend, but you know your chances aren’t the best. You might need a ton of money, or you might just slip through the cracks.
This is different than a reach or a lottery school (more on that tomorrow).
All matches aren’t created equal. A student who has too many high matches often ends up at their safety because they didn’t evaluate fairly. Figure out where you stand, and adjust accordingly.
A great list is full of options you can actually get into and actually want to attend.
Anonymous said: how do you suggest we thoroughly research schools?
Not sure if this is referring to the general process of finding schools or researching the school once you know of it. This is written for the latter.
I think it really helps to think about what you want in a college before going to research them. Make a nice long list what your ideal college would have so you have some specific things to look out for. But it’s good to be open-minded to exploring around too!
From The College (often the school website, but also from word of mouth, other websites, etc) - “The Facts”
- Look in academics - What possible majors are there? What do they offer to your major - the specific professors, programs, opportunities, etc?
- Look in student life - flip through the list of extracurricular activities and see if there’s anything there of interest to you. What clubs do I want to join? What clubs interest me? Does it seem like freshmen are involved? What is the residential life like?
- Look at the food! - What do they serve on a typical day? What kind of meal plans are there?
- Look at admissions/financial aid - What kind of school is this for me (reach, match, safety?) What are the requirements? Is this school need-blind?
- Look at the location - What is nearby? Think about what you’d want in your school and how that location might be important.
- Other things to ask/look for - Advising system, traditions, biggest events.
- Some colleges have virtual online tours too.
Student Input! - “The Vibe”
- The College’s Youtube, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Blogs - look at videos, tweets, posts, pictures of what the college is like. Look at the school in a less formal way - what students are saying. Explore a little.
- Things to look for: traditions, biggest events on campus, weather, transportation, freshmen-specific opportunities, study abroad, pictures of dorms, athletic facilities (what is available to you?), partnerships with nearby colleges, libraries, etc.
- It might help to google “Why college X?” Sometimes it’s great to hear why students did or did not pick a specific school. I used CC for this sometimes too - just be careful and mindful of who/where the info is coming from.
- Reach out to current students/alumni - talk to alums from your school who went there, send emails to current students (usually you can find some email addresses on the college website), send Tumblr messages to current/incoming students. Ask them what they think of the school, why they picked it, what they’re involved in, pros/cons, etc.
- Visit the school! - Take a tour, talk to current students, stay overnight, eat a meal there, watch some performances, sit in on a class.
- A lot of colleges seem really similar at the outset, so you have to dig deeper to find things that really make each college “distinct” - something that most students struggle with at the beginning of their search.
- Some representations of a college are more accurate than others.
- What someone else emphasizes as important might not be that way too you.
- Before making any assumptions, find out for yourself if stereotypes are true.
Hopes this helps a a bit. Good luck!