Developing a College List

Meeting with the college counselor helps students to develop a college list based on characteristics a student finds important to their college career. This list will be constantly revised following research, campus visits and changing interests.  

Even students with outstanding credentials may not be offered admission by all of the colleges to which they apply. The most highly selective colleges deny far more students than they accept, with several accepting less than ten percent of applicants.

The goal is to select a balanced group of five to eight schools, which fall into three categories: reach, possible and likely. These terms are not absolute. In determining whether a school is a reach, possible, or likely for each student, the college counselor factors in best judgment based on experience with TFS alumni and current admission trends.

  • Reach: These are schools where chances of admission are less likely, but with some chance of admission. Credentials may not be as strong as those of students who are typically admitted.

  • Possible: Credentials for admission are truly competitive, and the student is qualified for admission. This is a school where the student has a 50/50 chance of admission. In the past, Tallulah Falls School students with similar credentials have often been admitted, yet sometimes denied. This is a school where factors beyond pure academic achievement may be factored into the admissions decision.

  • Likely: These are schools where the student’s credentials are very competitive and there is confidence in admission. It is extremely important for students to find the “likely” schools where they truly believe they can be happy and productive.


Early Decision Programs

Most schools offer an early decision program, allowing a student to apply early and to agree to attend that school if admitted. Students MUST be sure about their Early Decision choice, because this commitment is binding. Applications to other colleges must be withdrawn if the student is accepted “ED.”

Early Action Programs

Early action programs are similar to early decision.  However, if the individual is accepted, he/she can still apply to other colleges. Deadlines are typically October 15, November 1 or November 15. Notifications of acceptance are sent mid-December to mid-January.

Letters of Recommendation

Most colleges require recommendation letters or recommendation forms (generally two).  Students will ask subject area teachers and the college counselor to complete forms or write recommendation letters. Recommendation letters are not released to parents or students; they are considered confidential communication between TFS and colleges admissions offices.

All requests for recommendations should be made as early as possible. The college counselor’s office reviews the college specific procedures students must follow in requesting recommendations.