Livermore High School

College Search: Creating a List

Creating a List & Determining Academic Fit

Students are encouraged to apply to between 5-8 colleges.  When making your "college list", think about how the colleges you are considering fall into these three categories: Reach, Target, Likely.  


Reach - A reach school is a college that is a bit outside of your range in terms of average GPA and test scores.  While there is a possibility that you might be accepted to these schools, your chances are slim.​


Target- A target school is one where your GPA/ test scores fall within the average ranges for recently admitted students.  While not guaranteed, you have a reasonable chance to be accepted to these schools. 


Likely - A likely school is one where your GPA/test scores are above the average range for recently admitted students. It is likely that you will be admitted to these schools.


*In addition, students are encouraged to apply to one community college.


The bulk of the colleges on your list should fall into the Target and Likely categories.  Regardless of which category a particular college falls within, be sure that it is a school you could see yourself being happy at for four or more years. 



Use the tools below to help determine which category a school falls into for you.


College Board 'Am I On Track?' and 'How Do I Stack Up Tool?'

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Cappex 'What Are My Chances Calculator'


Determining "Personality" Fit - Campus Visits

Every college has its own "personality". The best way to determine if a college campus feels like home, is to visit the campus, preferably when school is in session so you can see what the campus is like on a typical day.  Contact admissions offices to schedule a tour, or take a self-guided tour.


Campus Visit Checklist

College Board Campus Visit Guide


Can't physically visit a campus? Take a virtual tour, or attend an online college fair...

undefined - View thousands of virtual college tours and interactive maps.


You Visit.jpg - 360 degree and virtual reality tours.


CollegeWeek Live.jpg - Online College Fair.  It has big virtual two-day college fairs in March and in November with hundreds of colleges plus speakers on various topics. Between the two major college fairs, CollegeWeekLive features specific colleges and regional or other themed days. 

Big Future College Search Tool

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California Colleges School Exploration Tool

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CSU Mentor - Explore CSU Campuses


College Scorecard

Most Desirable Colleges By State


College Confidential College Search Tool


Accredited Online Colleges & Universities


You've Been Accepted, Now What?