There are many different aspects that go into finding the right college for you. The picture below shows the difference between a "match" and a "fit." Both are important in your college decision.
You can also view websites like University HQ or College Board to begin your research on what colleges you would like to apply to. These website can narrow down your search based on criteria that are important to you!
While picking your match, safety, and reach schools is all about comparing your academic profile to that of the average admitted student.Choosing your schools isn’t just about comparing ACT scores and GPA to determine your chances of being admitted—it’s about making sure all those schools are places you’d actually be happy to attend. That means every school, from your #1 choice to the backup to your backup plan, should fit your desired criteria.
Counselors encourage seniors to apply to at least 3 different schools. While you may know where you already want to attend, it's important to have backup plans and options. Applying to colleges requires a lot of time and effort, so make sure you are staying organized and doing everything the colleges are asking for admissions.
Letters of recommendation can be a major asset to your college or scholarship application. Beyond your high school transcript or ACT score, recommendation letters give application reviewers a better sense of who you are as a student and person. These letters may speak to accomplishments, your strengths, talents, or hardships you or your family have overcome. If you have a lower GPA or ACT score- or even just one rough school year that may need explanation, recommendation letters can help provide more insight or support for your potential as a college-bound student. Recommendation letters should be thoughtfully written by someone who knows you well, so it is important to give your writer plenty of time before the application is due. The RHS Counselors and College Advisor require (2) two weeks advanced notice for recommendation requests. We encourage you to give other writers at least this same amount of time.
Things to Consider When Requesting a Recommendation Letter:
Does this person know me well? Choose recommenders who can best speak to not only your academic ability, but also your character and personality. Are you witty, thoughtful, considerate, a leader, etc? Find a source who would be able to attest to who you are as a person and student. In some instances, you may have to look beyond the classroom or even school to find a source that can best speak to your attributes. It is important that your recommendation does not simply repeat what your high school transcript says.
Will this person speak positively of me? Most application reviewers recommend that applicants waive their right to view their letters of recommendation. This ensures that recommenders can write freely about applicants. However, if you have any worry about what your recommender may say about you, then you may want to consider choosing someone else. Select recommenders who will paint the best picture of your character and ability.
Who should I ask? Again, you should select recommenders who know you fairly well and can speak positively to your character. Be sure to read the requirements of your application because some may ask that a specific person or people write the letter (ex: counselor and 1 teacher). Consider asking the following sources for letters of rec (depending on the requirements of the application):
Your School Counselor
Job or Volunteer Supervisors
Church or Community Leaders
Can I use this letter again? Ask your recommender if they can save an editable copy of your recommendation letter or ask if you can use the letter for multiple applications (if it is general enough).
What does my recommender need to write my letter? Once a person has agreed to write your recommendation letter, the following items may be useful:
Details about the college/scholarship you are applying for
Helpful tip: For competitive community scholarships (ex: KC Scholars or REF Scholarship), one source may be asked to write multiple recommendations. In this instance, recommendation letters may cancel each other out. If a potential recommender is writing 3 or more letters for the same scholarship, consider asking someone else.