Safety Targets Reach Schools

21K School · Feb 8, 2023 · 4 min read

Safety Targets Reach Schools

Making a school list is a crucial yet challenging stage in the college application process. A carefully crafted school list balances your goal to enrol at safe schools, where you have a good chance of getting accepted, with the plan to visit reach schools, the colleges you’ve always wanted to attend. To let students aim high while also guaranteeing admission to at least one school, the perfect school list strikes a balance between reach, target, and safety schools.

What Do Reach, Safety, and Target Mean?

The terms “reach,” “safety,” and “target” are commonly used in college applications to describe a student’s likelihood of admission to a particular university. These ideas and the group’s colleges must be understood before the application process can start.

What is a Reach School?

 Colleges that have a probability of admission of less than 15% are considered Reach schools (this is the likelihood of admittance, not the institution’s approval rate). Remember that everyone should seek institutions with acceptance rates higher than 10%. Due to the fierce competition, applicants whose profiles are comparable to or superior to approved students cannot be sure they will be accepted to these universities. Students may find a school challenging if their test scores and grade point average are below the average for admitted pupils.

What is a target school?

A university where your admission prospects vary from 15 to 70% is a target school. Target schools were split into challenging targets (15% to 45% likelihood) and average targets (45% to 70% chance) in altering targets.

Unless the institution is highly exclusive, it is feasible to gauge a school’s target status by how the SAT or ACT score compares to its middle 50 per cent test results (The range of marks in between the 75th percentile and the 25th percentile of accepted students is known as the centre 50%.). One should be optimistic about one’s chances of admission to a target school even if there are no certainties. Challenging aims are a little riskier.

What exactly is a safety school?

Colleges with admission rates of greater than 70% are considered safe schools. A college is likelier to be safe if its students have test results above the 75th percentile. When selecting a safe school, having a good chance of college admission is essential, but individuals should also be enthusiastic about it and want to attend if one is accepted.

The Factors Affecting One’s Chances

Middle 50% test scores indicate your chances of admission to a specific university. Still, the admissions process is far more complicated than a single score and considers many different variables.

Exam Results And Grades

Over a third of what the Top 250 colleges consider significant in the admissions process is based on student’s grades and test results. Grades are a good indicator of a student’s commitment, willpower, and ability and a good predictor of college success. Colleges are interested in intellectually rigorous students who have taken complex material, such as AP classes; it’s not simply the scores students obtain, either.

Test results are significant for college admissions because they may verify a student’s grades and show whether or not they are ready for college. However, this has altered as a result of the Covid test-optional policy.

Additional Academic Activities

Extracurricular activities are a significant factor that colleges consider when determining which applicants to admit and can make up as much as 25% of the decision. One of the many benefits of extracurricular activities is that they show colleges what students are like outside the classroom and showcase their interests and passions. Instead of casually engaging in many different hobbies, try to concentrate on a few and devote attention to them.

Interviews and letters of recommendations

Only 10% of admissions decisions are based on letters of recommendation and interviews, making them less important than test scores, grades, and extracurriculars. The application may benefit from connecting with a teacher, advisor, or coach who will promote particular abilities and knows students well.

Another strategy to increase the chances of admission is through college interviews. Prepare for common college interview questions by taking them seriously; learn how to dress, ask the right questions, and exhibit a responsible, college-ready mindset.


Keep in mind that every school on the list should be one where one would thrive, from the safest to the most remote. Don’t ignore schools simply because they aren’t at the top of the rankings; similarly, don’t disregard highly ranked ivy league schools just because one might not be at the top of the class right now. When creating their own ideal college application list, it’s crucial to be practical and aspirational.

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