What site is best for College Admission Probability

Hi everybody,

What site would you recommend to use for admission probability in order to create the application list with Reach / Target / Safe ?

I tried several and got conflicted information - the worst is Naviance, although is highly used and recommended by the high school.
It seems Naviance is not updated - no idea how old is the data they are using, but certainly is old. For example, I am targeting a specific degree (aerospace engineering) that in the last 2 years have been added to the local in-state university (it is listed on the website) and Naviance it’s not showing it. Also, the list I come up in Naviance is totally unrealistic. It shows me Purdue as a safety school (not even Target) when I have friends with similar results that applied to Purdue in the last two years and have been rejected.
In my opinion, definitely Naviance is not a reliable source, not nowadays - maybe it was in the past.

Therefore I ask again - what reliable sites would you recommend for college admission probability ?

I know people who swear by college vine. But I love when people post here and let the community help guide them.


CollegeVine has a very nice user interface and is easy to use.

It’s as good a random number generator as any other site.


I think CollegeVine is way off. Liked how they asked to add EC’s. I think given how many kids apply to the same schools that the numbers are very high relative to 20-22. That and Test optional throws their entire guesstimate off, IMO.


Experienced people here on this forum are a better guide than any algorithmic driven website. Those website are driven by stats (many of which haven’t been updated for the current and past year - both unusual years) and don’t take into account your personal situation, likes and dislikes, strength of your ECs, etc. You’ll get much better guidance here on this site from real people, instead of from a computer program.


I think you should look up the common data sets of the schools on your list. It will have their GPA and test score ranges, and their acceptance rate. Then do a deeper dive on acceptance rate for engineering and in state/out of state if a public university. IMO that’s more accurate than any predictive website.


If the HS counselors aren’t putting current info into Naviance, then the scattergrams won’t be helpful (and their categorization function when searching schools is inaccurate as you noted, showing Purdue as a safety).

None of the college admission sites are likely to be accurate because they don’t take into account some important aspects in the admissions process (at least at holistic schools)…e.g., essays, LoRs, ECs. They also can’t categorize likelihood of admission by major. And you are right, aerospace engineering is generally going to be more selective than a given school’s overall acceptance rate.

For aerospace, depending on your stats, some safety schools could include Iowa State (stats based admission rather than holistic, formula is on their website Admission Requirements | Office of Admissions), ASU, and U Alabama Huntsville. I agree with the poster who said that posters on CC will be able to help you create a good, balanced college list.


This is part of the problem. College admissions is so opaque that no one can really give you a good estimate. I believe that CC recently installed an admissions calculator. Not sure how good it is.

But a high school guidance counselor is probably your best bet. He/she will know the trend in recent years from your child’s high school.

I think Naviance or SCOIR is a good way to get a sense based on SAT/GPA what are within range. But beyond that it doesn’t help with holistic factors.

Naviance was useless for us. D has a 4.0UW and 1580 SAT. Naviance didn’t list a single school as a reach (although plenty should be). Everything was either a match or a safety (laughably even an Ivy).


At some colleges, it is not so opaque. But the best information about admission for those colleges comes from their own web sites (e.g. Arizona State University).


In my opinion, the more selective the school, the harder it is to determine.

When you have 1000 kids with 4.0 and 1550-1600 SAT, volunteer hours, summer jobs, president of some HS organization, etc., then it comes down to essays that may resonate, 1 or 2 unique accomplishments, or some individual life circumstance.


While I can’t account for the accuracy yet, I like that CollegeVine takes into account if you are applying test-optional (although how big of a data set can there possibly be for schools that did not have that option prior to Covid?) They also chance by major. DS chances went up when he switched the major he was considering from engineering to bio. I think their safeties and matches seem right on.

I think they chance him high in his reaches. ( He’s taken the highest rigor available, actually beyond the highest with having courses created specifically for him, but his school does not offer AP. He will also likely be #1 in his class, but it’s a class of 70. His school is specifically for kids with LDs and although many go to great colleges, I’d say the majority are not highly selective). None of his reaches are ivies or the most highly selective schools. He is basically targeting OOS flagships (some highly selective and some that are not selective at all) and a few smaller LAC or tech schools with acceptance rates in the 35%-65% range)

It seems to fall pretty much in line with what I am expecting (I’m an eternal realist) and what I’ve seen in relation to the college acceptances from his 2022 classmates. I think if you are honest with yourself and factor in weaknesses your application may have (while also not overestimating your strengths which are probably pretty similar to the majority of applicants), it can give you a pretty good estimate.

This one.


I think the problem with Naviance is not coming from the HS input. All information provided by the high school are there (GPA = 3.85 and latest SAT=1440).
The issue is exactly what you said - although I picked aerospace engineering as a major, the results are not accurate - a lot of competitive schools for this major came up as safety (Purdue, Univ. of Michigan, Univ of Virginia) while with these are clearly a reach with these stats based on information I have from students that applied this year.
What means posters on CC ?

I will try CollegeVine - thank you.

For now, I the closest to my estimates was Cappex - a site I discovered accidentally, just searching the internet. Have anybody heard about it ? Is it as reliable as I believe ?

I need to say - I am a parent and looking for my son who is now Junior - will graduate in 2023.
It is very confusing to us to put together the list by reach / target / safe if these sites are not reliable. I will also open a subject under “ChanceMe”

Posters here on college confidential can help build a balanced college list.


You may get more advice if you start another thread asking for suggestions here on college search instead of in the chance me section. Many people here will help you build a solid list for your son. Good luck!

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Eh. I don’t think Naviance was wrong. It’s how you define “match” vs “reach.”
I’m in the minority – But I don’t view it as a pure calculation of admission likelihood. For me, “match” is simply – Does the applicant “match” the types of students that get admitted. “Reach” means the student’s stats are slightly below the typical admitted student.
So 4.0 and 1580 is definitely a match for Ivy leagues. It doesn’t mean would get admitted into any particular Ivy League school – Harvard still rejects most of the “matches.”
“Reach” means — “you’d have a better chance if your GPA and SAT were slightly higher.” If you have 4.0/1580, you can’t possibly reach any higher.

I know this isn’t how lots of other people define the terms. But it’s how I define them, and I believe it’s how Naviance is defining the terms.

What @momofboiler1 has posted here can’t be repeated often enough. There simply is no substitute for going through the data school by school. No one is more motivated to do this for your child than you are.

First, pick one school. Google the school name followed by common data set or cds. The school will often present you with a list of their most recent common data sets. Click on the most recent one. It is lengthy, so scroll through the pages to familiarize yourself with what information is there

Second, focus on Section C. That’s where you’ll live for Admissions information. C1 tells you how many students applied and were accepted, giving you the acceptance rate. CDS reports this by gender. Gender matters. For a lot of reasons, acceptance rates often by gender, so make note of the overall acceptance rate and that of your child’s gender.

C7 is very important. The school itself tells you what emphasis they place on each of 19 different admissions criteria. This is why any of the prediction formulas are useless unless they factor in these priorities. Each school varies widely in their priorities.

C9-11 is where you’ll find the numbers you’re looking for in terms of GPA and test scores. Pay attention to C9 where they tell you what percent of the freshman class even submitted test scores. Only a third of this year’s freshman submitted ACT or SAT scores at one school I looked at recently. In these test optional days, you can’t assume that every applicant has submitted test scores and therefore average test scores or even ranges can be very misleading if most applicants didn’t even submit them. This too varies widely among different schools.

Section H gives information on Financial Aid. Good information here if that’s important to you.

Section I gives information on class size and student:teacher ratio.

Section J gives information motion on Degrees Conferred. This is useful to get a sense of how big the department(s) are which yo are considering for your child.

As a general rule, schools which accept fewer than 15-20% are a lottery. No one is a match to these schools, which are a reach for every student no matter how well qualified. The sheer numbers are just too daunting. Furthermore, the real acceptance rates for the general pool of applicants are different than what are reported because as many as 200-250 students from any freshman class can be athletes. Their admission is based in a whole different set of criteria. The smaller the school, the bigger a factor this is. Then there are others who are admitted based on other factors, i.e. legacies, children of faculty & other employees, applicants with special talents, and underrepresented minorities.

As I mentioned earlier, there is also the school’s efforts to balance the gender ratio at the school. The college population these days is about 60:40 female:male. Despite this engineering tends to be 3:1 male:female. Business majors also tend to be more heavily male. Not necessarily, but tend to be.

Engineering majors as a group tend to have the highest test scores at any college. So, when you look at the general admissions criteria for a college, it’s best to assume that th scores of engineering students are higher than the overall student body. General gpa and test scores in the middle 50% of accepted students are a good indication of a match. But for an engineering applicant, I’d focus on the upper end of that range, starting with the middle of the mid 50% unless it is exclusively an engineering college.

One other caveat is that factors like test optional and numbers of applicants hav been shifting wildly in the past year or two. If the college hasn’t yet posted the 2021-22 common data set, it’s probably a good idea to go back and check again after they have. In general, it will probably be useful to check the past 2 years because either one may be an anomaly due to Covid. Looking at more than one year will give you more stable data.

Finally, check with posters here about the advantages and disadvantages of applying early to any particular school, keeping in mind that the vast majority of athletes are counted in the early decision and early ap data, skewing that information to appear to have higher acceptance rates than they actually do.

Have fun.


The post this quote was excerpted from is outstanding and offers great advice, but a caveat on C7: at many institutions, the admissions office is not involved in putting the CDS together on a year-by-year basis, and it is a good idea to verify what you see in this section.