College Match: Getting Started With College Raptor

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Understanding your matches

There are a few key things to understand about how College Raptor shows your matches.

Net Price vs Sticker Price

Example of net price estimate

One important feature of College Raptor is that we estimate a student's net price at any 4-year college in the U.S. This is very important because the net price that a student or family pays for college can often be dramatically less than the sticker price shown on a college's website.

Our calculations estimate the amount of federal grants, institutional grants and merit scholarships that you may qualify for at each college. All of these amount to "free money". So, when comparing the costs of different colleges, you should consider your net price, not the sticker price.

Prices shown on College Raptor are our best esimates. They are often not perfect, but generally close to the net price estimate that you would receive by using a college's official net price calculator.

All prices are per year and calculated for full-time students living on campus.

Match Categories

Example of net price estimate

College matches will be organized into one of five match categories: "Safety", "Near Safety", "Match, "Reach" or "Huge Reach". These categories are based on your estimated admissions chance at that particular college.

Some colleges—particularly very selective colleges like Ivy League schools—will be categorized as a "Huge Reach" for all students, including those who match their academic profile. This is because even for well-qualified students, it's still very difficult to get accepted to these colleges.

Admission Chances

Example of net price estimate

Estimated admissions chances are based on a combination of the student's academic information and the overall acceptance rate of a college.

These chances are our estimates and may be different for each student, based on their individual coursework, class rank and other factors that we do not currently include in our calculations.

Match Scores

Example of net price estimate

College Raptor calculates two types of match scores: Academic Match and Overall Match.

Academic Match scores are based on academic criteria of the student versus the college's average student profile and the student's preferred majors. Overall Match scores include Academic Match, plus cultural and location preferences.

How College Raptor works

College Raptor takes just three simple steps to find great colleges matches. First, we ask you to enter some basic academic, financial, and demographic data. Next, we show you a list of schools that match your profile, along with your estimated cost for each college and its academic fit rank based on your scores and interests. Finally, we show you detailed information about the schools you're interested in, so you can make an informed decision about which college is right for you.

You'll need some basic information to complete College Raptor.

To use College Raptor, you will need to provide us with some basic information about yourself and your family. We'll need income information and academic information to estimate your costs and fit at each college. You should have the following information available when you begin:

Student's income and assets (if any)
Parents' income and assets
High school transcript or estimated final GPA
SAT or ACT score
Our net prices are just estimates.

To keep our calculator as quick and simple as possible, College Raptor makes a number of assumptions when calculating your net price estimates. This means that our estimates may differ from your actual financial aid award or the results provided from each college's net price calculator.

Help us make our estimates more accurate by providing us with data you receive from financial aid award letters or official college net price calculators. Simply click on the "Help us improve the accuracy of this estimate" found on each college details page and you'll be taken to that college's net price calculator. Complete their calculator or locate your financial aid award letter and provide us with the results. We'll use this data to improve our accuracy for you and other users.

To learn more about what assumptions we make, visit our FAQ page

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