Do I Have a Shot at a Private College?

Question: Will I be able to get into a private college? I am just finishing 10th grade and I have a 3.24 gpa; I’m in Choir; I play the guitar; I do a lot of community service through my church; I tutor elementary school students. Thank you so much!

You seem to be under the impression that a private college is harder to get into than a public one. But the truth is that SOME private colleges are among the hardest in the world to get into (e.g., Harvard, Stanford, MIT …) while others are the EASIEST. I won’t name names here, but there are plenty of private colleges that admit nearly everyone who applies. The majority of four-year public colleges have higher admission standards than these private schools, although the standards can vary greatly.

As a sophomore with a 3.24 GPA, you will probably have many options … both private and public … although the more selective colleges will expect a GPA that is higher than yours. (However, a range of factors such as the level of the classes you’ve taken, your family background, and other life experiences and challenges will also be considered before your final verdict is issued.)

You should try College Confidential’s “SuperMatch” to identify colleges that might meet your current preferences and that also admit students with a GPA in your range. Go to http://www.collegeconfidential.com/college_search/ .Then answer the preference questions, being sure to select your current GPA under the “My Scores” heading. Note, however, that it’s still really early for you to hone in on specific schools, and–without SAT or ACT results–it’s also too early to get a really reliable sense of where you are most likely to get accepted.

When you select your SuperMatch preferences, if you choose “Private” under the “Public or Private” heading, and then “Must Have,” you will see a list of some of the private colleges that might be good fits for you.

But please remember that just because a college is “private,” it definitely doesn’t mean that it is BEST. In fact, some private colleges charge high tuitions (that may require students and their parents to take out big loans) and then don’t provide an education that is any better than what is available at a much lower cost at a public school.

So when it’s time to choose your college, do your “homework.” Check out average student debt, graduation rates, job placement rates, etc. and keep your mind open to both public and private, at least in the early stages of your search.

(posted 6/5/2014)