Preparing for College

Admission Chances for B Student with Mid-Range SATs

Question: I have an overall weighted GPA of 3.51. My SAT scores are: Critical Reading 550; Math 480; Writing 500.What are my chances of getting into college?

There are so many colleges and universities that will accept a student with your credentials that your head may spin from the all the options. We hear so much about the hyper-competitive schools such as the Ivies and their ilk, but–in reality–the vast majority of institutions accept many more students than they turn away, and an applicant with a strong “B” average like yours will be most welcome.

How do you seek out your best bets? There are numerous approaches. For starters, if you have not done so already, try an online search engine such as the College Board's "Matchmaker" at .

Answer the entire questionnaire, selecting your preferences for type of school, size, location, majors, extracurriculars, etc. When you get to the "Admission" section, enter your current SAT scores and check "50-75% had GPA of 3.0 or higher." When you hit "Results," you'll find a list of colleges where you are likely to be admitted. While I can't guarantee that you'll be accepted by all the schools that come up on this search, you should certainly be a very viable candidate at most of them. If you play around with the questionnaire and check the other GPA options, you'll get additional choices.

Another place to look for college possibilities is on the "Colleges That Change Lives" Web site. See: This site and its 40 member schools are the by-product of a book by the same name by education writer/consultant Loren Pope. The book points out that it can be the less renowned, smaller institutions that really give students the chance to know each other, their professors, and themselves--something that can get lost in the shuffle at a bigger ...or bigger NAME .. institution. Note that the Colleges That Change Lives organization holds events throughout the country, and there may be one coming up near you.

Finally, don't discount the grapevine ... i.e., word of mouth ... as a good way to learn about possible target colleges. Ask any adults you respect where they attended college Eavesdrop on conversations in elevators or supermarket checkout lines. Read the College Confidential discussion forums to see where students with similar profiles have been happy and engaged. Obviously, once prospective schools land on your radar screen, it's up to you to do additional research to see if the place is really a good fit ... and visit campus whenever possible.

But don't think for a minute that college acceptances will be an uphill battle for you. Sure, the application process can be confusing and onerous at times, but if you plan carefully, you should have some excellent choices when the dust settles.

Good luck!