Are you looking for a way to sort your college list? Start with safety, match, and reach schools.

Make your college list easy to view. Break it down in categories of safety, match, and reach. Safety schools are the colleges where you’re easily getting in; match schools are the colleges that best fit your stats and grades; reach schools are the ones that are great colleges but not likely fits. You always change how you sort your college list, but these categories give you a great start.

You want a way to sort your college list. It’s overwhelming to look at a full list of twenty or thirty colleges and much easier to see the schools in smaller batches. One great way to sort, at least as you begin your search, is by groups of safety, match, and reach.

Safety schools are the ones where it’s easy for you to get in, play well in your sport, and do well in classes. Your high school stats and grades are likely well above the safety school’s averages. Match schools are your most natural fit. Your stats and grades line up with those of other the athletes. These are the colleges most likely to offer a mix of comfort and competition for you. Reach schools are the colleges that are not as certain to take you. It’s possible that your grades, stats, or both aren’t up the usual standards at these schools.

When you look at colleges, think of ones from all three groups. Then, when you organize your college list, sort the schools into categories of safety, match, and reach. You can always change how you sort your lists on CaptainU—go to the “college” tab, click “reorder,” and sort the schools in a way you like. You can make categories based on all sorts of things—talks, visits, offers, or anything else—but this is a great place to start.

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