Now that we have reached the halfway point of the school year, the time has come for many students to consider their plan of action as they apply to schools next Fall. It’s nice to think that your dream school will fling open their doors and name a wing after you once they’ve received your application. However, it might be a good idea to be a little realistic. So brace yourself for this bombshell: not everyone gets into their main school of choice.
We spoke with Adrian Ridner, the CEO and Co-founder of Study.com, to go over the five different schools you should be applying to and why they are important. Here’s what he had to say …
The Dream School
“You may not be able to afford your dream school or your scores may not qualify, but you’ve always pictured yourself here so it should definitely be on your list. These schools can offer great networking opportunities and can look good on resumes and, if you do get in, you could receive a scholarship or grant to help with finances. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure your list of schools is diversified and balanced.”
The Safety School
“You should apply to at least one safety school because you want to have choices at the end of the college application process. Think of it as a backup or safety net. Going to college – any college – is the most important goal here. In most cases, where you get that bachelor’s degree from isn’t as important in the job market. Instead, focus on refining specific skills that will be relevant to your future career.”
The Low-cost School
“The average student loan debt is over $28k per borrower – that’s a crippling amount. In fact, research has shown that it takes an average of 21 years for a student to repay their student loans. Whether it’s a community college, in-state school or somewhere you’ll receive a big scholarship, you should always include the low-cost option on your list to avoid being strapped down by debt for the better part of your adult life.”
The Flexible School
“You just never know when life might get in the way, so be sure to apply to a school that caters to a variety of needs and allows you to balance school with other life commitments. This might mean a college that offers online courses to help you balance work and school, or a college that allows you to live off campus as a freshman so you can tend to family commitments.”
The Perfect Fit
“This could be a hidden gem you hadn’t previously thought of but is a good overall fit for you and your major. Look at the dimensions of your dream school, then find alternative schools that fit that category. For example, you may want to go to MIT for their top-notch engineering program, but you find that Cal Poly also has a solid program and is more attainable. Sometimes it just takes a change of attitude to realize that a school can be your perfect fit.”
Ridner believes that not only should you apply to schools that fit into these five categories, but you should make sure to apply to multiple schools for each to cast a wide enough net. So, consider your options and apply wisely!