College Chances Help

College Chances estimates your chances for undergraduate admission by comparing your academic and extracurricular information with the qualifications of freshmen most recently enrolled at the college, the level of competition for admission, and the relative weight the college places on different factors in the selection process.

In addition to the College Chances home page, College Chances is available throughout CollegeData, anywhere you view information about colleges and universities — with your College Match results, Admissions Tracker results, in individual College Profiles, and in your Data Locker for your saved colleges.


Entering a College Name

Enter the name of the college you want to calculate your College Chances for. As you type, a drop down list of matching colleges will display.

  • If the college you want is on the list, select it. This will automatically add the college name to the form.
  • If the college you want isn't on the list, hit the Enter or Return key on your keyboard or click the "Calculate" button to see a list of all colleges that match the text you entered. Select the correct college name to add it to the form.

If you aren't sure of the exact name, enter key word(s) in the name. For example, if you enter "San Diego" your choices will include San Diego Christian College, San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and University of California, San Diego. If you enter part of the name, your results will include all colleges that contain that text. You can also enter well known abbreviations, such as UCLA or SUNY.
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Entering Your Qualifications

Provide your GPA, class rank, test scores and the number of honors courses you will complete; indicate whether you plan to apply early; and provide information about your activities and achievements. If you're not sure which value to choose in a category, make an educated guess. The information you enter will be saved, so you won't need to re-enter it, except to make changes. You can change your selections and recalculate your College Chances any time.
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Early Application

If you apply early action or early decision, it may affect your chances for admission. At some colleges, the early admission rate is significantly higher than the regular admission rate. In some cases, this may be because the students applying early are more qualified than the students applying for regular admission. Recent research, however, has suggested that at many colleges the students applying early do not have stronger qualifications. According to the research, applying early will have little or no affect on your chances for admission if you are otherwise not well qualified. And, if you are extremely well qualified, applying early is not likely to significantly increase your chances. Overall and early admission rates, if available, are provided in your results in the What's Behind Your Chances section; compare the rates at the colleges you are interested in and draw your own conclusions. Applying early can require a commitment to attend if you are admitted, so approach the decision to apply early thoughtfully — not just with an eye on whether or not it will improve your chances.
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GPA (Grade-Point Average)

Your GPA is the average of the grades you earn in academic courses in high school. It is based on a system in which each A=4 points, B=3, C=2, D=1 and F=0. To calculate your GPA, multiply the number of courses in which you received each grade by the corresponding number of grade points, total the grade points, then divide that total by the number of courses. At some high schools, honors, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate Higher Level courses get extra grade points, resulting in GPAs above 4.00. For the College Chances calculation, however, your GPA cannot exceed 4.00. Include only academic courses, as colleges are not evaluating you for admission on the basis of your performance in courses such as physical education and driver's education.
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Class Rank

Your class rank is the measure of your GPA in relation to the GPAs of all students in your class. Some high schools do not calculate rankings. If yours does not, estimate your class rank, given what you know about your grades compared to those of your classmates. If the level of academic rigor and performance at the school you attend is considered to be significantly above average, estimate what you think your rank would be at a school with average rigor.
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Honors Coursework

Colleges which are more selective are looking at your grades as well as the nature of your academic program — whether you took advantage of opportunities to challenge yourself and how well you met these challenges. Honors courses include Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate Higher Level courses, other courses that your high school has designated as offered at the honors level, and transferable college-level courses that you take as a high school student.
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Test Scores

Many colleges require applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores. If you have taken both tests, you may use the scores which are considered higher or you may calculate your chances separately using each test. Concordance tables showing equivalent ACT and SAT scores are available from the College Board: ACT-to-Old-SAT (before March 2016) Concordance, ACT-to-New-SAT (March 2016 and later) Concordance. If you haven't taken either test yet, estimate your score. If your SAT scores are from March 2016 or later: College Chances will convert your scores for the "new SAT" Mathematics section and Reading and Writing and Language tests of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section to "old SAT" Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing section scores using conversion formulas developed by the College Board. College Chances will continue to be based on old SAT scores until colleges begin admitting students taking the new SAT and reporting new SAT scores of recently admitted freshmen. Your converted scores will be displayed in the results.
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Activities and Achievements

Colleges are very interested in how you spend your time outside of the classroom. They are looking for students who have pursued their outside interests in some depth, and they want to know more about the context of your academic accomplishments — what else you had "on your plate" at the time you were earning your grades.

Participation: Indicate the average hours per week you spend participating in your three most significant activities during the school year. Activities include organized activities, like clubs, sports, performing arts, community service, and employment, as well as individual pursuits, like playing an instrument or painting.

Leadership: Indicate the number of activities or organizations in which you have held a leadership position. Leadership roles include elected and appointed positions such as president, treasurer, student government representative, team captain, chairperson, prefect, community service board, etc.
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Your Chances Results

College Chances can't predict with absolute certainty whether you will be admitted to any college. Actual admissions decisions made by real admissions officers involve many "human" factors that cannot be built into a calculator. However, our calculation is based on real-life data and can give you a general idea of how you would be evaluated and whether you need to strengthen your preparation.

College Chances is most accurate for students with typical qualifications applying to all but the most selective colleges. Results are less reliable for students whose qualifications are not typical — for example, if the GPA is very high relative to the test scores or vice versa. Results are also less reliable for the most selective colleges, where factors other than those used in the College Chances calculator play a large role in determining which students are admitted. It's tough to make predictions at highly selective colleges because the majority of applicants have exemplary qualifications.

Don't decide whether to consider colleges solely on the basis of your College Chances results or how you perceive your chances for admission. Talk it over with your counselor and admissions representatives.

Your results will display your College Chances as a point along a bar labeled, from left to right, "Reach, "Maybe," and "Good Bet." Your result may fall at any point within each category. For example, you could have a "Maybe" result that is very close to the "Reach" category, or a "Maybe" result that is very close to the "Good Bet" category. The further to the right your result is, the better your chances for admission.



Good Bet Many students with qualifications similar to yours are admitted. At all but the most selective colleges, you are likely to be admitted if you maintain or improve upon your current qualifications.


Maybe Some students with qualifications similar to yours are admitted, and some are not. You might be admitted.


Reach Some students with qualifications similar to yours are admitted, but most are not. Your chances for admission are low.


Unavailable College Chances are not available for this college. A small number of colleges did not provide the information we need to determine College Chances.
Calculate Not Calculated You have not used the College Chances calculator.

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