What is a “Reach School?”

what-is-a-reach-schoolTechnically speaking, a reach school is an education organization with admissions standards that are much higher than the student’s academic credentials. While it is usually unlikely that a student will gain entrance to a reach school, they can still give it their best shot.

Reach School Qualifications

The best universities maintain the highest academic and admissions standards in order to guarantee quality and prestige. Naturally, students with low test scores and class ranking will most likely fall short of the admissions expectations. This could be a student with standardized test scores that do not even reach the 40 to 50 percent ACT or SAT score range for the target school.

Many college admissions programs provide helpful GPA graphs that indicate acceptable scores. If the student’s GPA falls below the cutoff line, they most likely will not be accepted. The best colleges and universities are considered to be reach schools for most high school students. Many of these schools purposely establish high admissions standards and low acceptance rates in order to create an exclusive educational experience that is worth the price.

Are Reach Schools Worth the Effort?

While students shouldn’t set their expectations too high, they should consider applying to at least a few potential reach schools. However, if they do not even meet the college’s basic admission requirements, then it’s most likely a waste of money and time. Therefore, students should carefully evaluate, compare and select a few reach schools that they have a realistic chance of being considered and accepted.

Next, they should invest time in creating a detailed application and meaningful supplemental essay. The essay should stand out; it needs to be clear, concise and full of supporting facts and arguments. Students should avoid using a generic essay and making minor changes for each school. Instead, they should carefully craft a personalized essay that demonstrates their commitment. Ideally, a well-written application will convince the admissions administrators to at least consider the application.

How to Improve My Chances with a Reach School?

Students should focus on getting good grades in high school and on standardized tests. If necessary, they should consider studying hard and retaking the SAT or ACT. If allowed, the student should take advantage of the opportunity to provide supplemental information and materials that clearly demonstrate why and how the target school matches their interests, personality and ambitious academic goals. To illustrate, the student can create an engaging portfolio that showcases their academic skills and knowledge, such as a graphic design or business plan sample. Students with unique musical, athletic or other talents should find an unpretentious, yet interesting way to present this information in their application packet. Students with average class grades or standardized test scores can supplement their application through actively participating in extra-curricular activities during high school. It can also help to apply to an in-state college or university because they are required to accept a certain amount of in-state applicants.

To review, a reach school is any higher education institution with strict admissions standards that a student may not likely be accepted into because of their academic credentials. Students should focus on applying to no more than a few reach schools.