College Kickstart categories schools by Likely, Target, Reach, or Unlikely to help you to assess how well balanced your college list is.
You can think of Targets as schools in your sweet spot, Likelies as great bets, Reaches as harder to get into, and Unlikelies as probably out of reach given your academic profile.
How are these categories defined?
- Likely: the admit rate is over 50% and your academic profile puts you in the top quartile of students from the previous year. These are schools where you have a high probability of gaining admission and merit aid, and it's ideal to have at least two in your list.
- Target: the admit rate over 25%+ and your academic profile puts you in the mid 50th percentile or higher of students from the previous year. These schools represent your 'sweet spot' since your academic performance is in range and the admit rates are reasonable. We recommend having 3-5 targets in your list.
- Reach: the admit rate is less than 25% or your academic performance puts you in the bottom quartile of students from the previous year. These schools admit very selectively, so the risk is higher of being denied, even if your academic performance is strong. We recommend having at least two in your list to give yourself some upside.
- Unlikely: the admit rate is less than 25% AND your academic performance puts you in the bottom quartile of students from the previous year. Statistically speaking, these schools are likely to be out of reach unless there are unique circumstances that set you apart from the applicant pool (underrepresented minority, first to attend college, special talent, etc.).
How are schools sorted into these categories?
Each school is categorized based on the school's selectivity (admission rate), and your academic performance relative to the school's students. The categorization matrix under the List Check makes it easy to visualize schools' positions.