How to tell if a school is a match?

There was a thread earlier talking about how to define a safety school. Most people emphasized the SAT percentiles.

How would you define a MATch?

<p>Usually, for a "match" or "ballpark" school, you should have a better than average chance of admission. This would usually mean that you are near or above the median statistics for the school, or have other compelling characterstics that are likely to offset lower scores/GPA. If your scores fall into the center quartiles, it's probably a ballpark school (though clearly the probability of admission goes up with your position vs. the averages).</p>

<p>Note that at the most selective schools, merely matching their "average" accepted freshman statistically means very little; for these schools, many of the final decisions are based on factors other than purely GPA or SATs. At most schools, though, the median (or middle two quartile) stats are a good indicator of how your application will fare. This is particularly true for many larger state schools, where the admissions process is based almost entirely on stats.</p>

<p>So for very competitive school SAT scores shouldn't be that big of a factor when determining a school a match?</p>

<p>BUMP + 5 characters</p>

<p>obviousoly the more selective, the less SAT scores mean for that range, so even if you have a 1600 and you're applying to yale/MIT/others like that it doesn't mean a thing</p>

<p>I would say SATs matter more than GPA, since schools rarely report their average GPA. True, a 1600 isn't a guaranteed ticket to Yale, but a person with a 1600 and an otherwise mediocre record is much more likely to get in than a person with 4.0 valedictorian with a 1300. Sad but true.</p>

<p>athena--that is drastically NOT true. college definitely prefer people with good GPAs in challenging classes with a lower SAT over a low GPA and some good SAT score. people put way too much emphasis on scores, colleges really dont care as much as these kids think they do.</p>

<p>I am going to have to respectfully disagree. It is politically correct in admissions to undermine the importance of SAT scores in order to get minority students to apply from weaker high schools. Believe what you choose, but having been through the process, known many people going through the process, and speaking to people who conduct admissions decisions, I have arrived at this conclusion.</p>

<p>Read "A is for Admissions." Any book that truly gives the inside word will back this up.</p>

<p>Grades can be inflated much easier than SAT scores. True, you can take a prep course for the SATs, but you still have to sit there, in a room, and take the test.</p>

<p>Do SAT just "get you in the door" or are they a large factor in admissions for competitive schools?</p>

<p>I know that you say that GPA isn't as important as SATs (I agree somewhat) but what about class rank, if a school assigns rank? Schools quite often publish the percent of students in the top ten percent, or the average percentile rank of students. The statistic is only ever based on about half of the college's student body, but still the figure is published. Would a good rank make up for a middling SAT score? What about the other way around?</p>

<p>I would think that depends on the applicant. For a white (non-Hispanic) applicant, I would say a high SAT score is a virtual pre-requisite for consideration by an Ivy or comparable school, but then once you meet the minimum standard other factors come into play.</p>

<p>For a minority, I think it is possible to get accepted on test scores alone, if they are high enough. Since minorities usually come from lower economic backgrounds, their scores are generally lower (can't afford test prep, etc.) Therefore I think schools really want to snag the minorities with the high test scores, and they will be able to get in almost anywhere. Others will be accepted, but that is the only time when low SAT scores will be overlooked. (That, and possible legacy admits.)</p>

<p>As for takeheart's question, I think class rank certainly matters. But I think it is easier to overlook than SATs because all SAT scores are reported, as opposed to half of the class rank data (as you said).</p>

<p>I don't know if it can compensate, but it is certainly important. And I think the salient point is that the top colleges rarely have to make those compromises. They have plenty of people with high rank and high test scores. I think this only comes to play in marginal cases anyway.</p>

<p>Athena, I agree. I think that the majority of applicants have high SATs and GPAs/class ranks. However, I've heard that being outside the top ten percent of your class is pretty much the kiss of death. Do you agree?</p>

<p>In the overwhelming majority of cases, yes, I would agree. I think if you are outside the ten percent you would have to do something tremendous to distinguish you from the crowd (and I mean more tremendous than being the editor of the school paper. While admirable, this is hardly uncommon.)</p>

<p>My only point is that I think if there is a case where a tradeoff has to be made, a higher SAT is preferrable to a higher GPA, at least to the very top schools. These schools are in intense competition with each other, and don't want their median scores to get lower.</p>

<p>It's interesting to see how this will play out with the new SATs, which I am entirely unfamiliar with.</p>

<p>The next few years should indeed be interesting due to the new SATs. No one is quite sure what a "good" score will be because with the institution of an essay, which I would imagine is harder to prep for, a perfect score will be harder to attain. I think it's a lot easier for a math/science kid to boost a verbal score than a writing score. I'm interested in seeing what the college's new medians will be.</p>

<p>I talked to the Penn (my #1 choice!!!) regional director. According to him, "A is for Admissions" is one of the worst books ever written about admissions. "I actually read it before the travel season began. What a waste of my time. Honestly, one of the worst books about admissions. I recommend any other book besides that crap." He literally said this.</p>

<p>IMO, at top colleges unless you are a URM/recruited athlete/legacy most will have a high SAT score, class rank and GPA. Not in top 10% would only be acceptable from a handful of top prep schools or very top magnets. When you get below the top 20 or so schools, there is much more flexibility. Great ECs will compensate for slightly lower stats. The issue is top schools have so many applicants who have across the board strong stats and they don't need to bend. I have seen a lot of dissapointed kids who were sure Harvard would see past a 1400. The low end of the ranges are the aforementioned groups.</p>

<p>I respond with this. SAT scores act ONLY as a "qualifier" for admissions, not as an agent of elimination. I think the admission officers are smart enough to know that SATs is a studiable test. But, I do agree with the top 10% part of this discussion.</p>

<p>I wouldn't respect anything that comes out of a Penn admissions officer's mouth.</p>

<p>No one has mentioned this other factor to consider in deciding if a school is a match: how does your h.s. curriculum match their required and recommended course work? This information (along with average GPA) is readily available from a number of sources, including simply asking the college's admissions office. At the minimum, a match school should be a school where you have taken their required's more of a match if you've met or exceeded their recommended coursework. (For example, they may require 3 years of science but prefer or recommend 4 years, including physics, bio, chem --- a school will be more of amatch if you have the recommended amount, not just the required, and more of a reach if you have less than the required.) Again, most admissions reps will tell you what the required and recommended course work is --- and it's also available on most web sites and in some college reference guides.</p>