Benefits of creating a balanced list of colleges

Nationally recognized college counselor, Danny Ruderman, explains why it is important to apply to a balanced list of colleges
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Benefits of creating a balanced list of colleges

So I often advise families to try to create a balanced list of schools when applying to college, what does that mean? It means that the first category is 3 different ones. You take 6-12 colleges, and you want to find reaches, likelies and safeties; and these are based on the statistics of what a typical college accepts each year. You look at your child's GPA and test scores and you look at the college's statistics and you say, "Okay, on the reach schools, they typically take a little bit higher GPA and test scores, that's a reach. But I'm right in the normally accepted category, those are likelies; the trick to a list though is to find safety schools. Schools where you know your son or daughter will get in, but will actually be interested in going. Now, once you've done that, you also want to balance it with different types of schools. So I'll give you my own example; when I applied to colleges, I applied to UCLA, a big public school and Stanford, a mid-sized private school. I did that because I didn't really know what I wanted at that time and so I wanted to give myself some options. But on top of that, I was also balancing it financially. So a lot of people think that UCLA is a less expensive school, so you want to keep that on the list; and Stanford's a more expensive school, we might not be able to pay for that. But Stanford had a lot of scholarships, so it ended up costing my family only $12k more over 4 years than it would have gone to UCLA. So what i would suggest is do your research as a parent. Call up these schools, find out what their financial aid profile is and balance the schools so that your student or your child has many choices as possible.
TEEN, Education, Applying to College

Nationally recognized college counselor, Danny Ruderman, explains why it is important to apply to a balanced list of colleges


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Danny Ruderman

Independent College Counselor

Danny Ruderman is a nationally recognized college counselor whose mission is to help as many families as possible navigate the admissions process.  

The Fontana High School and Stanford grad is the author of The Ultimate College Acceptance System and creator of college counseling programs used by school districts across the U.S. and Fortune 500 companies. He is known for his huge forehead and helping students get into schools that really match their interests. His newest book, Top 100 Answers to Your College Admissions Questions will be released in March 2013.

Danny graduated with Honors from Stanford University and holds a BA in Human Biology with an emphasis in Education. He was named a Merit Teacher for his work at Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles and worked as an educational therapist for K&M Associates in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Western Association of College Admissions Counselors (WACAC). He has been featured on NPR’s Marketplace, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, Between the Lines on PBS, College Bound Magazine, The Bill Handel Show, and Powernomics. Danny is also a regular contributor to Money 101 on KFWB in Los Angeles.

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