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What are Safety, Reach and Match Schools?

What are Safety, Reach and Match Schools?

As you build your college list, you need to think about schools a little differently. Having a favorite school doesn’t always mean you’ll get in.

You may have heard your counselor talk about safety, reach, and match schools, but what do these terms actually mean? More importantly, does your list include enough of each?

Safety Schools

Out of all the college jargon, safety school is a term you’re probably familiar with. Safeties are colleges that accept the majority of applicants – you’ll get into if your GPA and test scores exceed those of the average incoming freshman class.

A college is considered a safety school if your admissions test scores fall above the 75th percentile for students enrolled at the college. Safeties get a bad reputation, but don’t let that fool you – they’re often great schools! Put at least two safety schools on your list, just in case.

Reach Schools

Aiming for Harvard, the University of Chicago, Yale, or MIT? You’re dreaming big! Reach schools admit very few students or have requirements you may not meet. That’s not to say you won’t get in – plenty of students receive acceptance letters from their first-choice reach schools. Remember, it’s called a reach college because it’ll be a lot of hard work to create a strong application.

Generally, a college is considered a reach if your test scores fall below the 25th percentile of students enrolled at the college. Don’t let that stop you from being ambitious! Put two or three reach schools on your list. You never know what might happen.

Match Schools

Match schools are typically known as a perfect fit. They’re not hard for you to get into, but you’re not guaranteed admission. Your GPA and test scores should match those of the incoming freshman class.

A college is considered a good fit if your admissions test scores are between the 25th and 75th percentiles of students enrolled at the college. Keep three or four match colleges on your list. That way you have plenty of choices, whether you’re accepted to every school or just a couple.

Now that you know how to set up your college list, head over to your profile and start looking for your safety, reach, and match schools. Once you're ready for the next step, start applying for those schools! 

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