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Traditional Strategies for Determining Admission Probability

The college search process can be grueling and chaotic; there are just so many possibilities and unknown factors involved. And of course, underscoring this entire search is the concern that you can’t know for sure whether you will get into a specific college.

Think about it: what are your chances of getting into the University of Miami? Michigan? Columbia? San Diego State? It’s truly difficult to get a straight answer on admission chances.

People usually search for the answers to this admission probability question by doing the following:

  • Speaking to college counselors
  • Speaking to current students and alumni
  • Calling into the college admissions office
  • Exploring online resources, like the Princeton Review and the College Board

Cappex Admission Probability Software

Good news, there is another tool available: Cappex. Among other helpful functionalities, Cappex specifically helps you research your chance of admissions for any school in the US.

Cappex calls itself “Your College Decision Headquarters” and has built a suite of tools to help you find the right college fit. It allows users to compare colleges, read student reviews, evaluate lists, navigate scholarships, and much more.  Today’s focus is going to be on their tool named “What Are My Chances?”

Getting Started

  • To get your admissions chances, first visit the homepage at
  • Then, scroll down to the tool “What Are My Chances” and click “See Your Chances
  • Finally, enter the desired school name into the search bar as seen below


Required Information

  • Once you have entered your school of choice, work your way through the information workflow provided. Be sure to provide all required information. This is what they’ll ask for:



The Cappex Admissions Scattergram

  • For the fourth and final step, you are asked to create an account. The account is free. Cappex will send you newsletters and offers, but you can easily opt out if they begin to fill your inbox.
  • After creating an account, you can click through to see your results
    • NOTE: The output of your search will be a scattergram. You (based on the information you provide) will be plotted as a gold star. It will look something like this:


Final Thoughts

Please note: While helpful and incredibly cool to use, this tool is meant to be a complementary resource to help students and parents research and target their desired schools. It is not a silver bullet.  Just because a student plots well in this tool does not necessarily mean he or she will get into that college. Conversely, even if a student does not plot well in this tool, it does not mean that he or she won’t get in.

In conclusion, this is one tool that should be used in conjunction with other tools and resources.  Ultimately, from a parents’ standpoint, this is another layer of visibility to have those college discussions with your children, to help budget for college visits, and ultimately prepare you for the cost of attendance.

Please enjoy the rest of this article series on How to Utilize Online Resources for College Planning, and if you have questions, please ask!

This post is Part Five of a seven-part article series entitled How to Utilize Online Resources for College Planning.

Part 1: How to Research Scholarships

Part 2: Utilizing the College Board Website for Research

Part 3: College Planning Alphabet Soup – FAFSA, CSS, EFC, COA

Part 4: Researching Student Loans

Part 6: Endowments: Finding Out Where the Money Is

Part 7: Educating Yourself When It Comes to Paying for College


Erik Fischer, CFP




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