Backup Plan: How to Vary your Applications to Better Your Chances at Acceptance

Posted by IPFW Admissions Team on 2/20/15 11:18 AM


“What if I don’t get in anywhere?”

If this thought has crossed your mind at any point during the college application process, you’re not alone. Anxieties about getting accepted anywhere—much less your top pick—are more common than you might think. Surrounded by standardized test scores, minimum GPAs, entrance essays, and interviews, it’s easy to let yourself believe that none of your schools will send you that coveted acceptance letter.

But, here’s the thing: worrying isn’t going to make you feel any better, and there are steps you can take to help relieve some of those anxieties.

Generally speaking, you want some variety in your college applications. You can increase your chances of acceptance by applying to universities where you feel confident and places where you feel challenged. Many students choose to apply to at least five different colleges, and some as many as ten or more. Variety—casting a wide net, you could say—is key to bettering your odds.  

But don’t apply to schools you don’t like!

You should only apply to a school that you would be excited about attending!

There are literally thousands of schools across the United States to choose from. When narrowing down your list, and making sure there’s a healthy mix of different kinds of schools, ask yourself: 

“If this was the only university I got into, would I still be happy to attend?”

 A good school is a college or university that offers the program and degree you’re interested in, has the kind of student life and campus opportunities that will enrich your college years, and will help you achieve what you want to do. 

Remember—you’ll get out of college what you put into it, no matter where you go.

One final note on timing: no matter how strong your grades or test scores are, if you apply late or miss deadlines, it’s going to seriously hurt your chances of getting in. Plan ahead, stay on top of the process, and be responsible for your applications.

Looking for more help with the college application process?

Whether you're a freshman or a senior in high school, there are important steps you should be taking to prepare to apply to college. Take a look at our College Application Checklist to make sure you're on track.Get the guide: College Application Checklist

Photocredit to Joel de Oliveira, Flickr

Topics: Applying to College





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