How Likely Are You to Get In?

"What are my admission chances?" Who wouldn't want a crystal ball that answered that question! While there is no magic answer, you can get a fairly good idea of your chances at most colleges.

Learning where you are likely to get admitted is not an exact science, but you can find out what a college is looking for and look at the credentials of those who did get admitted. Then you can see where your own stats fit in. All it takes is looking for the right information in the right places.

Where to Start

You can search for key admissions data on college websites and in college guidebooks. But you can conduct your hunt more efficiently by looking up a college using a search tool such as College Match. Then you can easily view detailed information about enrolled freshmen and the factors the college values most in applicants.

See How You Compare with Those Who Just Got In

One of the most telling methods of estimating your admission chances at a certain college is to examine the GPAs and test scores of recently admitted students and recently enrolled freshmen. Comparing those students' GPAs and test scores to your own credentials will help you figure out whether you stand a chance. The higher you are within the range of accepted students' GPAs and test scores, the higher your chances are of being admitted.

See What the College Values—and How You Stack Up

Almost all colleges consider the student's grades to be the most important factor in admission decisions, particularly in challenging courses. But colleges vary in the weight they give other factors, such as test scores, essays, and extracurriculars. Once you have identified colleges that are a good academic fit, these other factors can be important to your chances. For example, if your grades are outstanding but your test scores are not, your chances will be better at colleges where test scores are less important. If the applicant's level of interest is very important, then it might be a good idea to make your enthusiasm known to the admissions department.

Figuring Your Chances

CollegeData offers other tools to help you compare your credentials with those of a college's recently admitted students and enrolled freshmen.

  • The Admissions Tracker shows you actual GPAs and test scores of students who were recently accepted to specific colleges.
  • College Chances offers you an estimate of your likelihood of being admitted, expressed along a continuum from a "reach" to a "maybe" to a "good bet." The tool compares your qualifications with admission data reported by the college. You can even modify your qualifications, such as GPA and test scores, to see what it might take to strengthen your admissions chances and improve your odds.

Talk to Your Counselor

As you get a better idea of your chances of admission, and start building your college list, be sure to talk it over with your college counselor. He or she has a valuable perspective on your strengths as a student, your chances at colleges you are considering, and can suggest colleges you can research further.

Consider Your Chances of Admission When Building Your College List

While there are no guarantees in college admissions, it would be foolish not to know what it takes to be a desirable candidate to your favorite colleges. Or to find out which colleges are likely to admit a student with your credentials. A little information will go a long way toward helping you build a solid list of colleges that are looking for students like you.

For highly selective schools, such as the Ivy League, it is more difficult to gauge your admission chances. They choose from a pool of many extremely well-qualified candidates. If you want to attend one of these schools, and you compare well with students who have been admitted, by all means put some of them on your list if you want to. But your chances at these schools are always a "maybe."

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