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Assessing Your Chances

A critical component of the college research and selection process is a realistic assessment of your chances to be admitted to a particular college or university. You want to be a good match academically, probably in the middle fifty percent or higher of their freshman class. If your admission statistics put you on the extreme high end or extreme low end of the class profile, you should carefully consider whether the college may be too easy for you academically or, on the flip side, may be more challenging than you want. Examining a college’s freshman class profile will also give you a fairly good indication of your chance of admission and help you decide if you want to apply to that school or not.

No matter what school you attend, you can count on spending a lot of time studying. It’s up to you to determine whether you want to spend all your free time in the library, keeping pace with your peers, or if you want to balance your academics with participation in athletics, organizations, Greek organizations, and/or community service.

There are several good resources to help you assess your chances for admission:
  • Freshman Class Profiles:  Most colleges publish statistics on their entering freshman class. These statistics may include the average GPA, average or middle 50th percentile SAT and ACT scores, average class rank, geographic representation, and other similar statistics. This information can be found on the Family Connection Web Site.
  • Family Connection Database (2006-2012):  This website provides data on where Judge students have applied to college, what their academic profile looked like (GPA, ACT and/or SAT scores), and what percentage were accepted or denied for a particular college. It is an excellent resource that gives you an idea of how Judge Memorial students are evaluated by individual colleges. The link to the Family Connection website is on the main college counseling page and students receive registration codes to sign in and use it their junior year.
Choosing Your "Foundation" School - Your Most Important Task

Many students are tempted to start their college list with their "dream school"--the school they would love to attend but that might be a long shot in terms of admission. 

We recommend a different approach: your first priority should be finding one or two schools that you are sure you can get into-–your foundation schools–-and that you would be very happy to attend. For some students, these are the hardest schools to find; for others, it’s the easiest. But starting your college list with your "foundation" schools allows you to approach the college selection process with "insurance": the knowledge that you have at least one school where you would be happy. From there you can include "likely" schools and "reach" schools in your list.

To find your "foundation" school, look for schools that meet your basic criteria, and where you easily fit the academic profile of students who attend that school. It should also be a school that will challenge you academically with majors that interest you. Remember, selectivity does not equal quality: in other words, just because it may be easier to get into a certain college does not mean that the education you’ll receive there won’t be strong. Again, there are over 3,600 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities in this country. Regardless of how selective they are, most can offer a valuable education to their students.