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College Board

Homepage Home > College Guidance > Access to Opportunity > Apply to 4 or More

Apply to 4 or More

Apply to 4 or More™ is a national movement to encourage all students — but primarily low-income, college-ready students — to apply to at least four colleges, including:

  • At least one safety: Where students’ admission credentials exceed those of the most recently admitted freshman class.
  • At least two good fits: Where students’ admission credentials are equivalent to those of the most recently admitted freshman class.
  • At least one reach: Where the institution’s average admission criteria for admitted students exceeds the student’s admission credentials.

Students in receipt of this packet should visit Apply to 4 or More to receive information personalized for them.

Applying to Good Fit Colleges

Our goal is to increase the number of low-income, college-ready students who graduate from a college that matches their academic abilities and is a good fit from a financial and social perspective. To do this, students must first apply to and enroll in these schools.

Research shows that students from low-income backgrounds apply to fewer colleges than their more-affluent peers. Research also shows that the more college applications a student submits, the higher the likelihood that student will enroll in a four-year institution.

See also: 10 Things Effective Counselors Do to Help Students Apply to 4 or More Colleges (.pdf/446 KB)

Eligible Students

Most students who receive the Apply to 4™ packets are chosen because they used a fee waiver to register for the SAT® or SAT Subject Tests™. Others are chosen on the basis of U.S. Census data. PSAT/NMSQT® and SAT scores are taken into account to ensure that these students are on track to be ready for college.

This selection method provides a strong estimate of income, but a small number of students who receive packets and waivers may not be low income.

The names of eligible students are not disclosed.

Inside the Packets

  • Personalized cover letter
  • “College: How to Get There from Here” (a college application timeline)
  • Some packets may contain up to four college application fee waivers. Students should only use the fee waivers if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Counselors: Take the Pledge

Take the 4 or More pledge to help all college-ready seniors find and apply to the four or more colleges that fit them best. After you sign the pledge, you’ll receive:

  • A welcome kit with tools, resources, templates, and promotional materials.
  • Professional development opportunities.
  • Local and national recognition opportunities.
  • An online survey for you to share your feedback with us.

For More Information

Customized Entry Pages


Applying to two colleges instead of one makes it 40% more likely that students will enroll in a four-year college. When students apply to more than two, their chances of enrolling will be even better. Encourage your students to apply to at least four or more colleges – one safety, two good fits, and one reach.

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