How to Choose the Right Match Schools

This post is the second part of our three-part series on how to choose the right reach, match, and safety schools. Over the course of the next few weeks, visit the Varsity Admissions Blog for advice on how to tackle this part of the admissions process.

Match schools are perhaps the most important colleges to apply to, because you have a reasonable chance of gaining acceptance and would fit in with the average students there. However, it can be difficult to determine which colleges your budget and academic and extracurricular interests appropriately match. When searching for match schools, it’s important to note how your grades compare and if the schools will support your academic goals, among other items. Here is how to choose the right match schools for you:

Choose the right match schools by seeing how your grades compare

You can determine which colleges and universities provide you with the best chance of acceptance by comparing your GPA and standardized test scores to those of a school’s average admitted student. Most colleges and universities list their acceptance statistics on their websites. You may also be able to find this information by asking your high school guidance counselor. He or she can guide you to schools that are an appropriate academic match.

[RELATED: 3 Questions to Ask Your Guidance Counselor About College]

Choose the right match schools by identifying your academic interests

Besides finding match schools based on your grades and test scores, you should also try to find matches based on your academic interests. What kinds of school subjects are you interested in studying? What type of career do you want to pursue? For example:

  • If you’re good at English and want to pursue a career as a writer, you might look at colleges with well-established writing programs.

  • If you’re interested in biology and want to pursue a career in medicine, you might look at universities with pre-medical training programs.

[RELATED: How to Choose the Right Reach Schools]

Choose the right match schools by examining your extracurricular interests

Academics are only one part of college. It’s also important to pursue your outside interests, like sports, school government, or clubs. Once you’ve used your grades and academic interests to narrow down your search for match schools, check college and university websites to research their extracurricular offerings. Often, schools have pages listing clubs and other extracurricular programs. Your match college should offer at least one extracurricular activity that you’re interested in continuing in college.

Choose the right match schools by considering your budget

Academic and extracurricular interests are important, but it’s also essential to consider the cost of college when determining your match schools. Talk to your parent or guardian about your budget to help pinpoint a comfortable price range.

Remember not to automatically shy away from schools that might be too expensive, because scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities may be available. Investigate these opportunities when looking for match schools.

[RELATED: What Every Student Should Know About Applying for College Scholarships]

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