# Increase Your College Acceptance Rate to 98%!

There’s no doubt about it: applying to college is stressful. In the States, over 2600 schools offer bachelor’s degree programs, a dizzying array of options to any prospective student. But if you take the time to compile an effective college list, one that suits your academic profile most, you can increase your odds of admission to 98%.

College Kickstart published an article about how to do just this, and listed below for your reference are some methods to increase your chances of acceptance.

### 1) Apply to 8-12 schools

The average college acceptance rate for local American students is 40%. Therefore, disregarding other factors, the probability of a student, Ted, being rejected by one school is 60%.

Although this acceptance rate is pretty good, the odds far from guarantee he’ll be accepted if he only applies to one school. Let’s say Ted applies to a second school with the same acceptance rate, so his odds of getting rejected by both schools is 60% x 60 % = 36%, while his odds of acceptance to at least one of the two schools is 64%. His odds of admission to at least one of them are getting better, although still nowhere high enough to ensure his success. If Ted keeps adding to his list of schools (schools with the same acceptance rate of 40%), the odds of acceptance to at least one will increase to 95% when he reaches the 6th school, and by the 8th school, his chances will have grown to 98%. At this point, Ted can feel confident to get into at least one of his choices.

Generally speaking, applying to 6-8 schools will be enough for local American students. However, for international students, the admissions process is much more competitive, so it is suggested to apply to 2-4 schools more.

### 2)  Make sure your list contains 2-3 reaches, 4-6 targets and 2-3 safeties

Since not every school has a 40% admittance rate, you should consider a mixed strategy by applying to schools with different levels/rankings. To keep it simple, we can identify the levels of the schools by using a school’s admit rate combined with a student’s SAT score.

For example:

*A school is a “reach” school when its admit rate is under 25% or the prospective student’s SAT/ACT score is in the bottom 25th percentile of enrolled students.

*A school is a “target” school when its admit rate is over 25% and the prospective student’s SAT/ACT score is in the mid 50th percentile of enrolled students.

*A school is a “safety” when its admit rate is over 50% and the prospective student’s SAT/ACT score is in the top 25th percentile of enrolled students.

*There is another type of school, unlikelies (likely to be out of reach), a term which means that the school’s admit rate is under 25% and that the prospective student’s SAT/ACT score is in the bottom 25th percentile of enrolled students.

In reality, a student can use her own academic profile to adjust her number of schools in different categories. An outstanding student may consider applying to 1-2 more reaches than safeties. However, students should try to apply to several safeties and targets in order to maximize their chances of admission. Additionally, some students with poor academic records should not even apply to any unlikelies.

Let’s calculate the odds of success for a competitive applicant if we take the 8 school route and apply to 2 reaches, 4 targets, and 2 safeties. Assuming a 15% admit rate for the reaches and a 35% and 65% rate for the targets and safeties respectively, the odds of getting into at least 1 school will be 98.42%.

If we take the 12 school route, the odds of admission to at least 1 school are even higher. Either way, ensuring a good mix of reaches, targets, and safeties on your school list should result in at least a 90% probability of being accepted into at least one school.

### 3) How does it work for a student?

a) Make sure your GPA and SAT/ACT/TOEFL scores match the requirements of your selected schools.

b) Based on the admit rate of each school and your own SAT/ACT score Decide the number of safeties, reaches, and targets you want to apply to base on the admit rate per school and your own SAT/ACT score.

Do a quick calculation to check your odds of admission now! This method is pretty self-explanatory and should be able to give you good statistical odds for success based on your schools’ selectivity.  Of course, it’s better to do more research on different school requirements or to find a school counselor to help build your college list.