How to Build Your College List

college admissions college applications college list college planning Apr 18, 2024

3 Key Takeaways

  • Strategic Balance: Balancing your college list across likely, target, reach, and lottery schools maximizes your chances of admission.
  • Personalized Guidance: Each student receives tailored advice based on their academic profile, ensuring a realistic and ambitious college application strategy.
  • Beyond Traditional Paths: We provide options for all students, including those with lower scores, ensuring everyone has a pathway to success.

At Anja Education Consultants, we understand that crafting your college list is a pivotal step in the college admissions process. Anjali Maazel, our founder, brings her deep expertise to simplify this intricate task, ensuring you approach your applications with confidence and strategic insight.

Why Is a Balanced College List Important?

Building a balanced college list is not just about throwing in names of institutions you admire; it's about creating a realistic map of where you can apply based on your academic profile and personal aspirations. Anjali Maazel states, "It's a guide for you to help you to understand why the balanced list is important and how to put it together." A thoughtfully constructed list ensures that you have a mix of "Likely," "Target," "Reach," and "Lottery" schools. This methodical approach increases your chances of acceptance and ensures that you have options that align with different potential outcomes of the admissions process.

How Do We Categorize Schools?

  1. Likely Schools (Green): These are schools where your academic credentials exceed the school's average admissions standards. You have a greater than 70% chance of admission.
  2. Target Schools (Blue): These institutions match your qualifications closely. You fit well within their average range for admitted students, giving you about a 50 to 70% chance of admission.
  3. Reach Schools (Orange): Reach schools are aspirational, where your academic credentials fall below the school's average but still within a potentially acceptable range. Your chances are about 30 to 50%.
  4. Lottery Schools (Red): Highly selective schools where admission is highly uncertain, and chances are less than 30%.

Our approach is tailored to foster not just dreams but achievable goals. "If you're in the top 10% of your class and you have A's or an A+ average, your SAT was 1400 or above, your ACT 31 or above, you're going to have more colleges that you're applying to," explains Anjali. This tiered strategy accommodates the unpredictability of college admissions by ensuring that every student has a robust selection of schools.

Please keep in mind that this approach to creating a balanced college list is a rule of thumb. It should not be blindly applied but rather referred to as a guideline that can protect students from the unpredictability of admissions; colleges have institutional priorities like yield that are not clearly revealed and not related to the qualifications of each applicant. So, thinking strategically about your college list is essential to acing the process.

What Does Our Process Involve?

Personalized Consultation: Each student at Anja Education Consultants receives personalized guidance in building their college list. We factor in academic performance, test scores, extracurricular activities, and personal preferences.

Strategic Application Spread: Depending on your academic credentials, we recommend a varied number of applications across different categories. This could range from 10 applications for those in the 50th percentile to 15 for those in the top 2%.

Consideration of Special Circumstances: For students at different academic performance levels, we provide tailored advice. For instance, students in the lower half of their class might benefit from starting at a community college or taking a gap year, a strategy that colleges often view favorably.

How Do We Support Students With Lower Scores?

For students facing academic challenges, Anja Education Consultants doesn't just provide a path to college through traditional applications. We explore alternative avenues like community college or structured gap years that involve internships and job experiences, making you a more attractive candidate when you do apply.

Our Success Stories

Our approach has proven successful time and again. By adhering to our strategic application plan, our students have secured placements in prestigious institutions such as Yale and Stanford and have achieved remarkable scholarship awards, with some receiving up to $276,000.

Through a methodical, supportive, and strategic approach to college admissions, guided by Anjali Maazel's expert insights, Anja Education Consultants ensures that every student can navigate the complex landscape of college admissions with confidence and clarity.


Video Transcription

Anjali Maazel

Anjali Maazel

Founder and CEO of Anja Education Consultants

At Anja Education Consultants, we pride ourselves on the exceptional expertise of our Founder and CEO, Anjali Maazel. With over 15 years of experience as an alumna interviewer for Princeton University, our team, led by Anjali, brings a wealth of knowledge in college admissions. Our interdisciplinary approach, which melds arts, international education, and public relations, allows us to provide unparalleled guidance in college planning. The cornerstone of our success is the proprietary Talent Development 3D Process™, a unique strategy that has achieved a remarkable 100% success rate in securing admissions for our clients to at least one of their top three preferred schools. As a respected Ted Talk speaker and a sought-after authority in college admissions, we are frequently invited by high schools across the globe to share our insights and strategies, empowering students to reach their full potential in the competitive world of college admissions.
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