Step 3: Make a shortlist

Once you have created your list of universities that match your personal preferences, you can start narrowing it down to the few you will send an application. We recommend applying to five to eight universities using the following categories to maximize your chances of admission:


  • Two or three very competitive schools (dream schools).
  • Two to three competitive schools that accept people with academic profiles similar to yours (match schools).
  • One or two schools where your academic profile is higher than their average and you can assume that you will be a strong candidate (safe schools).


If you are limited by your budget and require university funding, consider applying to more safe schools than recommended above. You can find a freshman profile on your university’s website, which will contain an overview of the average grades and test scores of all admitted first year students. If your academic profile is higher than the school’s average, you will be a very competitive applicant and will stand a greater chance of gaining merit-based scholarships, if available.