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US Counselor Updates: Reach, Target, Safeties

US Counselor Updates: Reach, Target, Safeties

Universities are like ice cream. There are many flavors and finding your favorite can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Hui Qin Chan

Counsellor at CURIO Education

  • Former Arts Peer Mentor at The University of Melbourne
  • Former Global Officer at Monash University’s Study Abroad Department
  • Ranked in the top 10 percent of IB grades globally upon finishing high school
  • Visual Artist for MudFest (Melbourne University’s Art Festival) in 2017
  • Featured visual artist in Antithesis Journal Volume 27 and Farrago Magazine Edition 5 in 2017
  • Intern at Shanghai Daily and at F&T group
  • Multicultural upbringing with living abroad experience  in five countries to date

A balanced college list is much like tri-flavored ice cream, where one flavor is your absolute favorite, one you like a lot, and the last flavor that is just ok. Noone describes this visual better than Gen and Kelly:


When someone brought home a box of Neapolitan ice cream, the first flavor to be eaten was the chocolate, then the strawberry. Finally, when there was nothing else left, it was vanilla.


In the same way, you need to divide your college choices into three categories. Like the ice cream in the example above.


If chocolate ice cream is your favorite, then your chocolate colleges are your top-choice schools but also those that are most difficult to get into. 


If you like strawberry ice cream a lot but it’s not your favorite, then your “strawberry” colleges are schools that you should have a reasonable chance of getting into and ones you would be happy to attend. 


Finally, if you think vanilla ice cream is just ok, but you can eat it if you have to, then your “vanilla” colleges are your “safety colleges”—those schools that you will most likely get into.


While there is no absolute rule, I highly recommend families to have three to four colleges in each of the three different flavors. This ensures that you are reaching for your fullest potential while guaranteeing that you’ll be accepted to some great colleges that you can choose to attend.

So far, if you have any questions regarding US college research and application timeline, please feel free to leave a message by filling in the form below. I am here to support you! See you next week!

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