Why You Should Apply to Those “Big Reach” Schools

Student reaching up - it's important to have reach, match, and safety schools on your college list

Flickr user Helmuts Rudzītis

When you’re creating your application list for colleges, you’re most likely focusing on schools you know you have a good chance of getting accepted to. Your list include some match and safety schools, but what about “reach” schools? These are the colleges you may not have a guarantee of getting into. It’s still worth a shot, even if you feel it’s a big reach. Here’s why:

You Never Know

Applying to those big reach schools can pay off big time if you receive the acceptance letter! The college or university may like something else they saw in your application that made up for your shortcomings or you may have been a better fit than you realized.

While each application does cost money, it can often be worth it to spend that extra time and cash to apply to those schools. You’ll never know the college’s response unless you take that leap.

It’s Good Practice For Other College Applications

You’re going to be doing a lot of college applications and research during this time period. You want to make sure your apps, essays, and interviews are top notch. One way to achieve that is through a lot of practice. These “reach school” applications can be a little more difficult to master. But they’re absolutely great practice for when it comes to your others.

Completing these may give you more ideas for your essay or see where you can improve on your other college applications. You’ll be able to find out how you can take the extra steps and hopefully improve your acceptance chances to the other schools on your list.

You May Be Offered Financial Support

If you do end up receiving a letter from one of your reach schools, you may be concerned about the finances. However, a lot of those big colleges and universities have excellent financial support systems, through grants, scholarships, and loans. You could be offered a great deal to attend.

This means you shouldn’t always completely write off a school just because it’s out of reach for financial reasons. The college may come back with an offer that makes it entirely possible for you to afford and attend.

Reach, Match, and Safety Schools

It’s important to have a healthy mix of reach, match, and safety schools on your application list.

While you should keep your expectations tempered when it comes to your “reach” schools, it doesn’t hurt to take the time to apply! You could end up with an acceptance letter you didn’t expect.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

Hilary Cairns

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