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Reach, Safety, Match? College Choices Explained.

How do you begin to decide what schools make the cut on your list? The best strategy is to bucket schools into three different categories. It's the "R-S-M Method." Reach. Safety, Match. You will

create three separate lists based on specific criteria.



  • REACH: Simply put reach means, "This is my dream school, but I'm not sure I meet the criteria to get in, but I'm going to try anyway - you never know. If I get in and the money is right, I'm going to this school."


  • SAFETY: "Ok, I feel pretty sure I'll get into this school and the money looks right - but I want to keep my options open."


  • MATCH: "This feels like a good fit, if I get in I'm going."


Things you will need to consider include :

  1. Admissions Criteria

  2. SAT/ACT scores

  3. Grades

  4. Recommendations

  5. How do you compare to the most recently admitted class?

  6. How rigorous was your high school courseload?

  7. What kind of extracurriculars do you have and do they contribute to making you a well rounded candidate?


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