How many schools should I apply to?

College Admissions

Our Counselors Answered:

How many schools should I apply to?

Benjamin Waldmann

How many schools should I apply to?

The amount of time prior to applying to specific school’s should be significant. Many consideration’s should be taken into account before applying to any school. Major issue’s that need to be checked are location, admissions requirements, cost, school size, overall prestige of that particular institution, academic subject suitability, sports and extracurricular activities, facilities, alumni network, classroom size etc.. after exploring different schools which correlate with all such requirement’s one would expect to only have a handful left to apply for which really tick all the box’s. Remember, each application needs 100% of your attention and effort so that you can really express the qualities and commitment that you have to offer that specified school. There is no point in half heartedly doing an application for 10 different schools when your not totally sure that it fits your criteria.Remember, the majority of school application’s carry an application fee therefore that should be extra initiative to only apply for suitable establishments. I would always recommend visiting any school that your interested in if possible. Taking into account all the requirement’s, often you will know if a school fit’s with you by the general feeling you have when you visit. Sometimes, even if all the requirement’s fit, it’s just not what you expected which is fine. But better to know that before you apply. I would recommend applying to between 3 and 5 school’s which you feel really fit’s with all your expectations.

Claire Law

How many schools should I apply to?

The standard reply is from 6 to 8. However, if you conduct your research and plan ahead, you should be able to apply to fewer – say 4-5. It’s hard to juggle too many applications in your senior year. It’s best if you identify the variables that are important to you. As an IECA consultant I focus on finding colleges that match you academically, socially and financially.

Inna BeilinaStudent

How many schools should I apply to?

At least 4. That’s my advice.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Minimum number of schools to apply to

Al least 8-10, or maybe more.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Minimum number of schools to apply to

Al least 8-10, or maybe more. 2-3 sure admits 2-3 mid range 2-3 reach 0 – out of reach

Mr C CoakleyPresidentAcademic Coaching Services

How many schools should I apply to?

Typically, 5-8, so that you can compare financial aid packages and school choices. If you’re considering the most selective schools, i.e. Ivies or other “top tier” colleges, my clients usually apply to 10-12 schools. At the highest levels, you’re not seeking a clean sweep (which rarely happens for most candidates anyway). So, if you get admitted into half of your schools, you’re in great shape.

Brooke Daly

An appropriate number is usually 6-8.

When advising my students on how many colleges to apply to, I typically advise a range of 6-8 schools. If you’re applying to 10 or more, you probably haven’t done enough homework to discover which schools will be the best fit! Conversely, it’s also important to apply to enough schools so that you have options when it comes down to decision time. Only applying to one school will leave you in a tough position if you’re not accepted. For the purposes of maximizing financial aid opportunities, it’s also good to have a wide variety of schools to choose from. Financial aid packages are not “one size fits all” and it’s helpful to see what each school is awarding.

Keith BermanPresidentOptions for College, Inc.

How many colleges the best applicants apply to

A typical college list for a student applying to selective schools is 10 – 12 colleges, with 1 – 3 high priority schools. For students who are really interesting in reaching, roughly 6 of the 12 should be reaches (defined as a school where your grades, scores OR both are below the published medians), and 2 should be safeties (where you grades AND scores are substantially above the published median). When you have chosen your high priority schools, you can then determine what application strategy to use in terms of early applications.

Jonathan DunnDirectorCreative College Counseling, LLC

How many schools should I apply to?

The answer to this question is different from student to student. Most of my clients apply to anywhere from eight and twelve colleges.

Maria Carvalho

How many schools should I apply to?

I advise students to apply minimally to 3 schools. It’s important for students to take into consideration the admissions criteria of the college and whether your high school credentials match their admission requirements. When applying to colleges/universities you are interested in I recommend you apply to three categories: 1. Reach college – a school that you’re interested in but your high school credential may fall short of their requirements. 2. Reasonable college – School admission requirements match closely. You have a good chance of getting accepted 3. Safe college – your high school credential either meet or exceed their admission requirements. Remember it’s important to have options.

Eileen Ed.D.Associate DirectorEducational Directions, Inc.

Myth: Too much is not enough!

Actually, by applying to too many schools, students inadvertently tip the scales for each other. As a result, many students find themselves wait listed who might have otherwise had no difficulty getting into several of their top choices. As a rule, I generally recommend limiting your applications to no more than six or seven schools. This allows for at least one reach school, and one or two safety schools. If you have chosen well and done your homework in terms of selecting schools looking for students like you, chances are you will get in! Thus, do not overload admissions counselors with needless applications. Focus, and do not fall for the myth that implies the more, the merrier.

VERONICA GUZMAN

How many schools should I apply to?

3

Lloyd ParadisoPresident and CEOThe Admissions Authority

It depends.

Once upon a time, seniors applied to maybe two or three schools and that seemed like a pretty sensible number given that each application was different usually requiring a fair amount of time, attention and energy to complete in a satisfactory fashion. With the traditional college-going population of the day and the fact that most institutions, even those considered most prestigious, routinely admitted the majority of their applicants, there was every reason to believe everyone would be accepted to at least one. Nowadays, with the advent of common applications and the ease of electronic submission, to send out nine or ten applications is not terribly unusual. What is key, however, is to understand one’s academic credentials compared to a college’s admissions standards so that a few acceptances are more or less assured. Therefore, how many is really not the question but which ones. You can only attend one at a time so I would suggest that as long as you are absolutely certain that you are admissible to at least one college on your list, the rest is up to you. Of course, if financial aid is a crucial component of where you might matriculate, be sure to apply and be admitted to several colleges so that you can compare awards.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

Admission Counseling for Chinese students

One of the major for the majority of Chinese students chose not to apply US colleges and universities directly in the first place is the fact that lack of admissions counseling. Created tremendous barriers and obstacles for international students as a whole. As a matter of fact very few US professional counselors are actually specialized in international admissions counseling because international admissions are dominated by agencies. Compare admissions counselor to Chinese agencies is just like compare apple to oranges. For one thing, agencies do not exist in the United States just like counselors do not exist in China. But the difference is US colleges and universities have acknowledged the fact that most of the applicants from China are submitted through agencies. Therefore, those applications will read and reviewed differently with different standards because they were submitted by the agencies. What does that mean to the Chinese students as a whole? Are there any disadvantages and advantages for the Chinese students? As an expert in international admissions counseling for Chinese students during the past 8 years we know there are plenty of disadvantages and almost zero advantages for the Chinese students. To learn a few disadvantages, first of all the Chinese students were applying colleges without a fit and match approach due to lack of admissions process and counseling. That will lead students to the wrong school and many of them did not even know until they arrived or even years later that they recognized they could have made a better choice. Second of all, without counseling for career choice or major selection, most Chinese students did not know or understand the complexity of what the curriculum chose and programs they pick in order to fully develop their potential. The last one is the fact of lack of academic planning. They lack the ability to understand the importance of long term academic planning. As a result, few boarding school students in the US can succeed in highly selective colleges. Few talented students from Chinese taught public schools can succeed in US top colleges. Ivy Counselors network promote college success. Without counseling, Chinese students will explore the amusement park without a map. So why Admissions Counseling for Chinese students? US colleges and universities are openly willing to work with US counselors to promote college access for Chinese students. US counselors have no financial ties with US colleges in terms of admissions and any other type of financial arrangements. In other words counselors will not send students to particular schools because they will receive commissions. Counselors are supposed to recommend students based on the best possible fit for the student. That changes everything because the Chinese agencies will send Chinese students to US colleges that have relationship with financial compensations first as part of the business part of it. They also may guarantee refunds to the students if the filled the college admissions. That type of contract certainly will not benefit the student’s best interest. In those types of arrangements, the agencies will take the lead, make their decision, and influence the students to fit their business model. On the other hand, admission counselors must place the students best interest first and have the students make all the final decisions. That will ultimately impact the admission results and benefit the students most. Ivy counselors network has provided and estimate data for probabilities that the students may take into consideration and use it to gain perspective. The difference between Apply Direct – which does not use individual counselor, does not employ individual counselors – and Apply Counselor –which employ individual counselor – is huge. For one thing, the students who use Apply Direct will still have much higher probability of getting accepted compared to the same type of students that submit their application through Chinese agencies. That might be hard to believe because the Chinese agencies never publish their statistics and data to the public. That is one of our expertise that the Chinese students can rely on because we gain our perspectives directly from college admissions offices across the country. During the past eight years, counseling Chinese students I was told many times by chiense students that my questions and topics during the counseling sessions were so strange to them that they never even thought about it. They told me the reason that it took them so long to answer a simple question was because nobody ever ask them ever the same type of questions in the past. They simply did not know how to handle it. Not necessarily because they don’t have the answer. The questions are about being honest, trustworthy, and open-minded normally become the first lessons or sessions during a typical counseling session. As a counselor, it is the counselor’s duty to introduce and explain a difference set of standards and consequences related to honesty, trustworthy, and open-minded. Many talented Chinese students should be discovered, exposed to different ways of thinking, obtain the right attitude and make commitment to succeed in college. How do work with professionals and talk their professional advice productively will help the Chinese students to learn how to make the right judgement for themselves later on. They will benefit from such practice beyond college years. Teach them how to succeed in school doesn’t matter boarding school or college is a critical step as part of admission counselor. It is very simple just to learn the statistics of every college or boarding school produce. However, learn how to gain perspectives from those data is something that the Chinese students never had the opportunity to be taught. There are also many other factors that must take into consideration for Chinese students but ignored in the past. Such as personal growth, values, and contributions to the society. That is also part of the admission counseling for the Chinese students. for many international students, the right amount of schools to apply is the key for successful admissions.. the definitions for likely schools, safty schools and reachable schools should be different for international students based on admissions policies, selectivities, and requriements from school to school. for example, elite colleges may not share the same or mean the same as reachable schools to international students.

Benjamin CaldarelliPartnerPrinceton College Consulting, LLC

How many schools should I apply to?

Most students should apply to 6-9 schools.

Michael PuccioPresident/Advisor/Life CoachFuture First Advisors, LLC

How many schools should I apply to?

There are no limitations to the amount of schools to which you would like to apply. I usually suggest 6 – 8 schools. But, just like any student, you should do the research before you move forward with any application. Two important points for you: 1) make sure that you fulfill the requirements that the school asks for from international applicants, and 2) make sure that you like the school!! If you can visit the U.S., try to go on campus tours. Once you choose a school to visit, call the school’s Office of Admissions and let them know that you are an international student applicant and will be in the country on a specific date. They should be able to set you up with a tour. If you can’t arrange time to visit the schools, luckily the internet is readily available for you at any time! Start with the school’s website. Then move on to the MANY other websites that provide information about schools. Make sure that you also look for comments from current and former students about the school. Also, call the Office of Admissions and ask if they can provide you with contact information from a current student. Best of luck!!

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

Admission Counseling for Chinese students

One of the major barriers for the majority of Chinese students chose not to apply US colleges and universities directly is due to the lack of admissions counseling. without professional counseling and guidance, Chinese students are facing great challenges and obstacles as a whole. As a matter of fact very few US professional counselors are actually specialized in international admissions counseling because international admissions are dominated by Chinese agencies. Compare admissions counselor to Chinese agencies is just like compare apple to oranges. For one thing, agencies do not exist in the United States just like counselors do not exist in China. But the difference is US colleges and universities have acknowledged the fact that most of the applicants from China are submitted through agencies. Therefore, those applications will read and reviewed differently with different standards because they were submitted by the agencies. What does that mean to the Chinese students as a whole? Are there any disadvantages and advantages for the Chinese students? As an expert in international admissions counseling for Chinese students during the past 8 years we know there are plenty of disadvantages and almost zero advantages for the Chinese students. To learn a few disadvantages, first of all the Chinese students were applying colleges without a fit and match approach due to lack of admissions process and counseling. That will lead students to the wrong school and many of them did not even know until they arrived or even years later that they recognized they could have made a better choice. Second of all, without counseling for career choice or major selection, most Chinese students did not know or understand the complexity of what the curriculum chose and programs they pick in order to fully develop their potential. The last one is the fact of lack of academic planning. They lack the ability to understand the importance of long term academic planning. As a result, few boarding school students in the US can succeed in highly selective colleges. Few talented students from Chinese taught public schools can succeed in US top colleges. Ivy Counselors network promote college success. Without counseling, Chinese students will explore the amusement park without a map. So why Admissions Counseling for Chinese students? US colleges and universities are openly willing to work with US counselors to promote college access for Chinese students. US counselors have no financial ties with US colleges in terms of admissions and any other type of financial arrangements. In other words counselors will not send students to particular schools because they will receive commissions. Counselors are supposed to recommend students based on the best possible fit for the student. That changes everything because the Chinese agencies will send Chinese students to US colleges that have relationship with financial compensations first as part of the business part of it. They also may guarantee refunds to the students if the filled the college admissions. That type of contract certainly will not benefit the student’s best interest. In those types of arrangements, the agencies will take the lead, make their decision, and influence the students to fit their business model. On the other hand, admission counselors must place the students best interest first and have the students make all the final decisions. That will ultimately impact the admission results and benefit the students most. Ivy counselors network has provided and estimate data for probabilities that the students may take into consideration and use it to gain perspective. The difference between Apply Direct – which does not use individual counselor, does not employ individual counselors – and Apply Counselor –which employ individual counselor – is huge. For one thing, the students who use Apply Direct will still have much higher probability of getting accepted compared to the same type of students that submit their application through Chinese agencies. That might be hard to believe because the Chinese agencies never publish their statistics and data to the public. That is one of our expertise that the Chinese students can rely on because we gain our perspectives directly from college admissions offices across the country. During the past eight years, counseling Chinese students I was told many times by chiense students that my questions and topics during the counseling sessions were so strange to them that they never even thought about it. They told me the reason that it took them so long to answer a simple question was because nobody ever ask them ever the same type of questions in the past. They simply did not know how to handle it. Not necessarily because they don’t have the answer. The questions are about being honest, trustworthy, and open-minded normally become the first lessons or sessions during a typical counseling session. As a counselor, it is the counselor’s duty to introduce and explain a difference set of standards and consequences related to honesty, trustworthy, and open-minded. Many talented Chinese students should be discovered, exposed to different ways of thinking, obtain the right attitude and make commitment to succeed in college. How do work with professionals and talk their professional advice productively will help the Chinese students to learn how to make the right judgement for themselves later on. They will benefit from such practice beyond college years. Teach them how to succeed in school doesn’t matter boarding school or college is a critical step as part of admission counselor. It is very simple just to learn the statistics of every college or boarding school produce. However, learn how to gain perspectives from those data is something that the Chinese students never had the opportunity to be taught. There are also many other factors that must take into consideration for Chinese students but ignored in the past. Such as personal growth, values, and contributions to the society. That is also part of the admission counseling for the Chinese students. for many international students, the right amount of schools to apply is the key for successful admissions.. the definitions for likely schools, safty schools and reachable schools should be different for international students based on admissions policies, selectivities, and requriements from school to school. for example, elite colleges may not share the same or mean the same as reachable schools to international students.

Joseph Tavares

Surprise: There’s not a single answer!

There are over 4,000 university options in the United States. So how many schools should you apply to? Certainly not all of them! The truth is, there’s not a single answer, but what I tell my students is that they need to know their answer. Typically that number ranges from 8 to 12, with an understanding that they need to apply to schools where they have a 25% (typically 2 schools on their list), 50% (3), 75% (3) and close to 100% (2) chance at getting accepted — based on historical data that schools give about their admitted classes. More important than the number of schools and the chances you have at getting into the schools, is knowing reasons why you are applying to those 8 to 12 schools out of the 4,000 university options across the United States. In fact, I tell them my students they should have the capacity to be able to tell a stranger in no fewer than 100 words why they want to study at a specific school. Until a student is able to do this exercise, then it’s my belief they need to continue self-reflection and research. Otherwise, they will be wasting their time with the college application process.

Joseph Tavares

Surprise: There’s not a single answer!

There are over 4,000 university options in the United States. So how many schools should you apply to? Certainly not all of them! The truth is, there’s not a single answer, but what I tell my students is that they need to know their answer. Typically that number ranges from 8 to 12, with an understanding that they need to apply to schools where they have a 25% (typically 2 schools on their list), 50% (3), 75% (3) and close to 100% (2) chance at getting accepted — based on historical data that schools give about their admitted classes. More important than the number of schools and the chances you have at getting into the schools, is knowing reasons why you are applying to those 8 to 12 schools out of the 4,000 university options across the United States. In fact, I tell them my students they should have the capacity to be able to tell a stranger in no fewer than 100 words why they want to study at a specific school. Until a student is able to do this exercise, then it’s my belief they need to continue self-reflection and research. Otherwise, they will be wasting their time with the college application process.

Ryan JohnSchool CounselorBethlehem High School

How many schools should I apply to?

At our high school the average is 6 to 8 colleges. This number fluctuates as some students receive application fee waivers and see no downside to applying to additional schools. With application fees rising each year (around $70 per application currently) I think students should be judicious with how many colleges they choose to apply to as a measure to keep the costs associated with the application process down.

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

How many schools should I apply to?

You should apply to a range of schools including 3 reaches, 3 -4 targets and 2 safeties. So between 9-10 schools should be more than enough. Some students decide to forego applying to reach schools and that is fine. Just make sure you’ve done your research on your target and safety schools. Make sure that you have one financial safety!

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

How many schools should I apply to?

A lot depends on which type of schools you are applying to. You should look at the school profile compared to your academic profile. Do your expectations match reality? People will tell you to apply to a couple of reach schools, a couple of target schools, and a couple of safety schools. Truth be told, you should want to go to all of the schools that you apply to. You also need to be strategic about it. If you choose a school to apply to that you are on the bottom half of their academic profile, that means you probably won’t get as much scholarship money as compared to a school where you were at the upper portion of their academic profile. Don’t just apply somewhere without knowing where you fit in terms of the schools academic profile. In simple terms, 3 to 8 schools should do the trick depending on if you are looking in the right places.

Megan DorseySAT Prep & College AdvisorCollege Prep LLC

How many schools should I apply to?

While there is no right or wrong number, I recommend students apply to 6-10 schools. Fewer than six and you probably don’t have enough variety. You need one academic and one financial backup school just in case. The rest of your choices should provide o an array of choices. If you are applying to highly-selective colleges, you may want more schools on your list due to the competitive nature of these schools where each year top students are rejected. I’ve worked with a few students who applied to 12-15 schools and with all the applications, essays, and supplements they were exhausted. If you apply to more than 10 have a clear justification and be ready to work.

adam baerWriter and Editor for Top National Magazines, Websites, and Newspapers

How many schools should I apply to?

14

Kathleen HarringtonOwnerNew Jersey College Consulting

How many schools should I apply to?

I have advised students to consider having three plans. The Plan A List: These are the schools that get you most excited when speaking about the possibility of attending. Perhaps you have worn a sweatshirt for one of these schools since you could walk and still have the sweatshirt in your possession. (Place three schools in your Plan A List; One of these schools may be your potential ED choice or all three may be your EA selections.) The Plan B List: These are the school that make you excited about the possibilities and opportunities that could exist if you attended. You may have visited the campus, had a good feeling about the school, and know friends or family who have attended and have insisted that this school would be a good fit for you. (Place three schools in your Plan B; these most likely will be either EA or Regular Decision Schools.) The Plan C List: These are the schools that you may or may not have had the opportunity to visit however, you have done your research, worked with your college counselor, and have networked with admissions representatives prior to your applications submission. (Place 2-3 schools in your Plan C: these schools will more than likely be your Regular or Rolling Decision Schools.) Dedicate your time and resources according to your categorized letter plans. Your top choices will automatically pull more of your time and efforts however, be confident and proud in all of your application submissions. Applying to a total of nine schools is reasonable and depending on your time and efforts can reduce your stress and anxiety throughout this exciting process. It is essential to dedicate time to researching your schools in order to create a list of schools that match your academic strengths and extracurricular activities. Remember you can only attend one college in the fall. Tip! Be knowledgeable on your chosen application type: ED, EA, EA Restrictive, Regular Decision, and Rolling Decision: Visit each college website for their application type definitions.

Renee Boone

How many schools should I apply to?

A minimum of three colleges, one each in the Reach School, Good Chance for Admission and Almost Assured Admission categories, can be expanded to six to nine, focusing on a distribution amongst the levels of admission difficulty. I have had students apply to 25 colleges but, generally, so many applications may be reflective of not enough time spent in research to create the best, most satisfying list.

Toshie Baba

How many schools should I apply to?

Hi, I suggest you to apply at least 3-5 schools, depends on the level of institutions you are interested in. Since you are an international student, you need to start thinking about visa and immigration process which could take some time. It is probably a good idea to get admitted and receive your I-20 (immigration document that you need to apply for your student visa called F-1 visa) from a school whether it is your first choice school or not. You can get multiple I-20s from different schools.

Dr. Carol LangloisFounder/CEOHigher Education Specialists

How many schools should I apply to?

I’m pretty old-school when it comes to this question having worked at colleges for the past 16 years. Personally, I recommend 7. Two “reach” schools, three mid-range schools, and two “safety” schools. A “reach” school is a school that you would love to attend, but you’re not quite sure you have the chops to get in. Maybe, your SAT is a bit lower than their average SAT. Or, maybe your high school GPA is a bit lower than the average applicant. Whatever the reason, I still encourage students to shoot for the stars within reason) and not discard two top choice schools because of one thing missing from their background/application. Mid-range schools are schools that fall within your academic background, offer the major you want to study and all around provide an environment/campus that you’d be happy attending. A mid-range school is not a slam-dunk, but there is a very strong chance that you will get in based on your background and academics. A “safety” school is pretty much self-explanatory based on the name. It’s a school that you are confident that you will get into based on your academic profile and background. Make sure that the safety schools you pick are still schools you’d be happy to attend. Don’t think of them as some sort of last resort, because they aren’t. Many students attend their safety school because of location, convenience and/or cost. Before applying, be sure that you would be comfortable attending any/all of the universities that you have selected and do not put all your hopes into one school. That can, in some cases, be a recipe for disaster and why put yourself in a position.

John Sy

How many schools should I apply to?

I always say about eight or ten…ten being a maximum. You can apply to a few more especially if you need to qualify for and compare financial aid packages.

Zulema WascherCounselorRio Rico High School

How many schools should I apply to?

What I always tell my students is choose your top five schools, your dream school, your for-sure school and three in between. Apply to all, and see what each school offers you. Make sure to check all admission criteria for each of these and make sure you have the necessary requirements.

Arianne RivardFurther Studies AdvisorNIEC (China)

Cautious Moderation

You don’t need to apply to fifty schools. Narrow the schools you are interested in into three categories: reach, good fit, and safety school. Apply to one (or two) reach schools, two or three good-fit, and two safety schools. Make sure that your safety schools are actually safety schools – and that you actually like the schools and beleive you would receive a good education there. Contact the regional admission officers of any schools you are interested in. They can answer specific questions about the schools and help you decide which schools will be a really good fit, and if you have a realistic chance of admission.

Steve PeiferDirector of College GuidanceRift Valley Academy

Balance

Ideally, you want to apply to a fairly easy school to get into, a moderate school, and a reach school. You want to make sure you are balanced; applying to 8 reach schools is a recipe for disappoinment and needless rejection. Whether your ideal amount is 3 or 6 or 9, just make sure you have balance in your approach.

Shannon Salmon

You Should Apply to 8 to 12 Schools

Apply to at least 3 reach schools and at least 3 safety schools.

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How many schools should I apply to?

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Francine SchwartzFounder/ PresidentPathfinder Counseling LLC

How many schools should I apply to?

What I strive to encourage students to do is have a balanced list. The list should consist of Foundation Schools, schools where the student above the middle 50% of accepted applicants in terms of their transcript and test scores. Next there should be Expected Schools, schools where the student falls in the middle of the pack of accepted applicants from last years class. Finally the list should include Dream Schools, schools where the student falls in the lower range of the middle 50% of accepted applicants. While there is no hard and fast rule on numbers of schools I would suggest at least two or three schools in each category. Too many schools and the student will be left having to choose all over again should they get into say 20 schools. Finally today I believe that all students need to have a financial safety school – usually a state school. Francine Schwartz Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Cheri BaradEducation ConsultantBarad Education Consulting

It is your choice!

Depending on your list and how comfortable you feel with your ‘safety’ schools (institutions you are certain you would be accepted to and would be happy at if it were your only/last choice), many students are applying to between 8 – 12 schools. This range gives a student 4 reach, 4 – 6 mid range schools and 2 – 4 safety schools. It is advisable, even if you are applying Early Decision, to have your ‘backup’ applications ready to submit on the per chance you are deferred or your application is not accepted by your ED school.

Nina BerlerFounderunCommon Apps

How Many Schools?

Many parents ask me how many schools their students should apply to. Of course, there’s no one answer to that question. The number of schools a student applies to is a function of his or her interests, strength of candidacy, financial situation and geographic area. I live in the Northeast, no doubt the toughest area for college admissions. Why? We have so many wonderful students from education-minded families and wonderful secondary schools. The competition for admission to top-tier schools is fierce, particularly for those schools in our own region as well as others such as Stanford. In many cases, students compete with their friends and peers. For a good student in this area, I often like to see the student apply to between eight and 10 colleges. Again, that’s not a hard and fast rule, but rather a function of many variables. For students outside the Northeast, except perhaps California, there is no going number such as 12 colleges. Rather, the important thing for any student, counselor or parent is to understand the student’s goals and strengths and put together a list with a variety of colleges having various levels of difficulty both in terms of academics and admissions.

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

A balanced list should be around around 10 schools.

Most clients I work with have narrowed their final applications down to approximately 10 of well-balanced choices. Mind you, this is not the size of the list that we started with, but the final choices the student and their families have decided upon.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

no more than 10

for many international students, the right amount of schools to apply is the key for successful admissions.. the definitions for likely schools, safty schools and reachable schools should be different for international students based on admissions policies, selectivities, and requriements from school to school. for example, elite colleges may not share the same or mean the same as reachable schools to international students.

Michelle GreenAdmissions ConsultantMy College Admissions Coach

The typical student applies to between 6 – 10 colleges.

The number of colleges that a student should apply to is based on many factors – selectivity, student competitiveness and financial/safety reasons, being just a few of them. Conventional wisdom says that you should apply to 2-3 reaches, several matches and at least 1-2 safety schools. If applying to more selective schools that have a 20% or less chance of admission, you may need to apply to 10-12 colleges. If applying to less competitive schools with a higher admission rate, than you may be able to apply to less. Most families will need some sort of financial aid to help pay for their child’s education. It’s worth looking at schools that are FAFSA-only, in addition to CSS PROFILE + FAFSA schools, and apply to both kinds. Your student financial aid package may be very different depending on the type of methodology the school uses to calculate student need. The EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) is only an approximation of what families will be expected to pay and is a starting point in the financial aid process.

Wendy Andreen, PhD

The Perfect Number

Many years ago at a college planning meeting, a statement was made to an audience of students (and parents), “If you are applying to all of the Ivy League schools, you haven’t done your homework.” The comment was expanded to explain that these colleges are very different and there’s no way a student could be happy on all of the campuses. I never forgot those words of wisdom and share them with all groups. Students who use the ‘scattershot’ approach to college applications are applying out of fear of not getting into any college. They apply to large numbers of schools without truly knowing if they will like the college well enough to call it home for four years! There are over 3,000 excellent colleges and universities in the U.S. There is a great fit for you! Don’t get sucked into the philosophy that there are only about 25 colleges worthy to attend. I don’t believe there is one magic number of applications. For some students 3 colleges are plenty because they have done their ‘due diligence’ and know that any one of the three will be a great fit. Others operate on the 2-3-2 formula: 2 reach, 3 target, 2 safety. Again, will you be happy at all 7 of the colleges? The students who flood the college admissions offices with applications – even when they know they really don’t want to attend all of the colleges on the list – just clog the system, make more work for their counselors & teachers, make it more difficult for the students who truly want to attend the colleges, and overload the admissions officers with too many files. I also tell students that I never want them to look back with regret at not applying to their dream college, even if it is a stretch. Do your homework – research & visit colleges – and you will find your personal perfect number.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

No Magic Number

There’s no formula for determining how many college to which you should apply. Some student apply to as few as 3-4 – while others go a bit overboard and apply to 12-14. Rather than focusing on how many schools should be on your list, try to compile your list by including three TYPES of schools: safety schools (schools to which you are pretty sure will accept you); realistic schools (schools to which you have a realistic chance of getting in); and reach schools (schools where your chances of acceptance are very slim). In order to determine which schools are your safety schools, realistic schools and reach schools, look at the median GPAs and test scores of the admitted freshmen for those schools during the previous school year. That information can be readily accessed through individual school’s websites and through guidebooks such as The Fiske Guide of Colleges. While compiling the list — be thoughtful and flexible! It’s okay if your list changes from time to time. The important thing is to focus on selecting schools that you’d be happy to attend if accepted — no matter if they are your safety, realistic choice or reach school.

Suzan ReznickIndependent Educational ConsultantThe College Connection

There is no “right” or magic number

Most students apply to between 8 and 12 schools on average. I have seen students apply to as many as 20! Considering that you can only attend one school and having over a dozen offers can be anxiety producing in and of itself- there is no reason to go overboard. The majority of your time and effort should be focused on getting the best grades possible, not writing 20 essays! What is key is “spreading the risky” by applying to a range of selectivity in your schools. Having the attitude that – if I apply to every Ivy, one will accept me- may leave you without any options for college. Have at least two schools that would be considered a “safety” school and the majority in the “target” range should offer you many great options.

Alexandra YoungGuidance CounselorBrookline High School

Is There a Magic Number When Applying to Colleges?

When this question comes up, first, I tell students to have a balanced list. That’s more important than the number of schools they should apply to. However, when talking about numbers, eight schools is usually a good number to work with. When applying to eight schools, the college list should have two reach schools, four possible schools, and two likely schools. The terms “reach, possible, and likely” pertain to the chances of admission. For those students that want more options, I wouldn’t apply to more than twelve schools.

Ryan AldrichDirector of College CounselingThe White Mountain School

How many schools should I apply to?

A BALANCED LIST Potentially, the most emotionally difficult aspect of creating the college list is choosing and sticking with several schools to which the student is quite likely to gain admission. Every parent understands the rich talents and personality of his/her child and has come to view certain schools as excellent and others as adequate. The challenge is finding several schools that both the student and parent feel are strong and to which the likelihood of admission is excellent. However, if the search continues on too long, it can sidetrack the student from senior fall courses and constructing strong applications to an already established list. Highlighted below are two areas in which parents and students can make this part of the process easier: 1.) Last year’s admission rates were the most selective of all time, and with more students predicted to apply to colleges this fall, it will likely be another record year. While this has made the more prestigious schools even more competitive, it has also made less well-known schools both more demanding and composed of stronger students. Consequently, before students dismiss a school because they have not heard of it or because they know someone who attended several years ago and found it unimpressive, they should do their own research into what that college is like today. Yesterday’s weaker school may be a college of high quality today. 2.) When visiting schools for the first time, consider visiting schools other than those that are among the most competitive for admission. A BALANCED LIST Ideally, when creating a balanced list of schools, we recommend that you include two to three likely, two to three probable, two to three reach, and that you individually discuss super reach schools that are reasonable for the student’s time, energy, and financial situation. We want to try to avoid the current trend of the scattergun approach, where students blanket admission offices with as many as 15-20 applications. Colleges prefer to invite students who they believe will actually attend, as this will increase their yield, which subsequently makes them appear more attractive. Because of this scattergun trend, admission offices are finding it more difficult to identify the sure bets. Increasingly, admission offices are likely to count students’ every phone call and visit. A recent survey by the National Association of Admission Counseling found that nearly 55 percent of higher education institutions now consider “demonstrated interest” when making admission decisions.

Dr. FisherCollege CounselorFisher Educational Consultants

Is there a certain number of college you should apply to?

There is no specific number of schools you should apply to. Each student is different. One may only want to apply to state schools within their state or other states. The chances of admission will dictate how many public institutions need to have your application. Private colleges are quite different for the competition for admission can be quite keen. One should apply to colleges that are a long shot but possible, those colleges that can go either way but you certainly have a chance for acceptance and those colleges which you should be accepted. But, among those where acceptance looks very good, you should want to attend those schools. And, sometimes the schools in the last category fit you the best even if they don’t have a fancy name.

Marcia Berenter

Applications

6-8 colleges are usually recommended. Of these 2-3 should be “reach” schools, 2-3 should be “within range” and 2-3 should be “safe bets”

Charles Bealcounselorcovina high school

How many is the correct number

I have found in my experience as a counselor that I tend to answer that question this way, Am I picking schools that I can afford? 2) Is there a certain part of the country that I want live in for the next four plus years? 3) Can I obtain fee waivers to offset the cost of applying to these schools? 4) If I were accepted by all of them what would be my criteria for acceptance and do I really want to attend the last few schools on my acceptance list. If you can financially afford it , I feel that a person should apply to as many schools that they consider seriously viable

Judy McNeely

Appropriate number of applications

As long as there are sufficient numbers of safety and mid range schools, it is fine to apply to only 8 colleges, though it is understandable that a student might wish to apply to up to 12 colleges. There are good ways to avoid applying to an inordinate number of colleges [visits are the best way], and it is best to limit the number because it is more than just the student who does the additional work [school counselors, transcript producers, etc].

Ms. RobinsonHead CounselorCedar Grove High School

Applying to Colleges

I recommend that seniors apply to at least five colleges. It’s always good to have two to three in mind that you are certain you would get accepted into. I also encourage seniors to apply to colleges that have compettive to highly competitive acceptance rates. Even though your gpa or test scores may not meet the admission requirements, sometimes a letter of recommendation or compelling essay can buffer your chances of getting accepted at least under a provisional status.

Ms. RobinsonHead CounselorCedar Grove High School

Applying to Colleges

I recommend that seniors apply to at least five colleges. It’s always good to have two to three in mind that you are certain you would get accepted into. I also encourage seniors to apply to colleges that have compettive to highly competitive acceptance rates. Even though your gpa or test scores may not meet the admission requirements, sometimes a letter of recommendation or compelling essay can buffer your chances of getting accepted at least under a provisional status.

Ms. RobinsonHead CounselorCedar Grove High School

Applying to Colleges

I recommend that seniors apply to at least five colleges. It’s always good to have two to three in mind that you are certain you would get accepted into. I also encourage seniors to apply to colleges that have compettive to highly competitive acceptance rates. Even though your gpa or test scores may not meet the admission requirements, sometimes a letter of recommendation or compelling essay can buffer your chances of getting accepted at least under a provisional status.

Ann RossbachIEC/Business OwnerAnn Rossbach Consulting

How many schools should I apply to?

There are no hard and fast rules that lead to a magic number of schools to which you should apply. Your list should be well-rounded (in terms of difficulty of entry) and contain only schools that you would actually attend. For instance, even a “highly likely/safety” school should be on your list only if you have a desire to attend. I have known students to apply to as few as three and as many as 20 colleges. Ideally, if your list is carefully researched and you know there is a “fit”, your list should be manageable in terms of the time you will spend on the applications and the fees you will pay.

Frank DonPartnerEast West College Counseling LLP

Since the emergence of the Common Application, there has been a tendency for High School Seniors to

Since the emergence of the Common Application, there has been a tendency for High School Seniors to apply to many colleges and often too many. The number of colleges a student should apply to varies. I suggest to students that they make a list of the characteristics of the type of college they wish to attend. The characteristics can be as diverse as geographical location, urban / suburban or rural, the social life on campus, the accessibility to city life or outdoor sports activities, the college community and the programs offered by the college. Once the student has devised their checklist of what they are looking for in a college, I suggest they make a large list of those schools that might fall within their framework. As they familiarize themselves with each school, they can then cull their list and prioritize the schools that they would especially like to attend. It is important that the student also take into account their credentials for application. It is fine to have some reach schools on the list, but it is also important to have some schools that they may be fairly certain of being accepted. While the number of schools to apply to can vary, anything more than seven or eight could be excessive, but certainly not unheard of.

Shannon O’BrienCounselorPalatine High School

College Applications – How many schools should I apply to?

I feel that you need to narrow your applications down to 3-5 schools. You should strongly consider applying to 1 safety school – you meet all the criteria and you will for sure get accepted; 1 reach school – it’s your dream to attend, but grades, test scores, etc., limit your chances for admittance; and then apply to 1-3 other schools. Come May 1st of your senior year a decision has to be made on where you plan to attend school so to be able to narrow your choices during the application process is key.

Ken AnselmentDean of Admissions & Financial AidLawrence University

“Should” is a strong term…

…which suggests that there is a “sweet spot” number for all students. Your answer will depend upon how confident you are that the colleges on your list fit well with (a) your talents and aspirations; (b) your academic competitiveness, if applicable, with others in the applicant pool; and (c) your financial parameters. For some students, one college is perfect. For others, it may take few more. On average four to six seem to do the trick.

Jodi Peroutka

Narrow your choices

You should narrow down your college choices to 3-5 schools.

Lisa BlakeHead School CounselorPhoenix Christian Unified Sch

How many schools should I apply to?

Choose 1-2 dream colleges, colleges you may not qualify for but would LOVE to attend; choose 2 realistic colleges, you know you meet their minimum requirements; and 1 safety college, a plan B just in case “life circumstances” like money or loss of a loved one prevents you from your original/ideal plan.

Stacey KostellDirector of Undergraduate AdmissionsUniversity of Illinois

A solid range is 5 – 7.

It really depends on the student, but 5-7 is a good range. When researching possible schools, you may be interested in many more than that, but by the time it comes to apply you should be able to narrow the list. More than likely, you’ll know the group of schools you’re most interested in attending. On the flip side, even if you are dead set on attending your favorite school, it’s a good idea to apply to more. There’s always the possibility that you won’t be offered admission. Then, if you are admitted, you will appreciate having a choice and not being limited. Your second-choice school may offer you a better financial aid package or you’ll just change your mind. Bottom line, keep your options open but don’t spend a fortune on application fees!

Matt Schreiber

How many schools should I apply to?

Before applying to schools, students should try to take a college visit or campus visit to the colleges of their choice to make sure that college is a good fit for them. Also talk to your school counselor about having different colleges come in through out the school year to allow you the opportunity to search out new colleges and become familiar with them. When applying for schools students must be aware of deadlines for admissions and scholarships. Students may need to apply for to a school that they are not sure if they will attend to be eligible for scholarships. Students will have to pay the admission fee for each school they apply to. It does not hurt to have a back up plan so applying to two to three different schools will be a good idea.

Charles McPeakGuidance CounselorLogan Senior High School

How many schools should I apply to?

Never put all of your eggs in one basket. If you are interested in 3, 4 or even 5 schools I would encourage you to apply to all of them and even back up colleges. I know that sometimes application fees are expensive, sometimes if you are low income the colleges will waive the application fee if your counselor writes a letter stating that you are on a fixed income or have financial hardship.

Byron Loyd

How many schools to apply for?

I recommend that a student applies to a minimum of 3 schools. A student should get a “dream school” in mind…one that the student possibly could qualify for or one that the student is on the edge to qualify for; then a medium tier school that there is a good chance he/she could get in to, then a sure bet school that the student would qualify for. The student could even choose 2 school in each catagory and apply to them.

Saroj Jagernauth

How many schools should I apply to?

I would suggest one “safe” school along with at least four others that you are interested in or would be considering for post-secondary careers

Dalia Singleton Wimberly, M.Ed.Owner/Educational ConsultantRaeBrown Consulting

How Many Colleges to Apply to

I generally recommend students apply to 8-10 colleges. But, an important factor is TYPES of schools you are applying to. There are “safety” schools- ones you can be fairly sure you’ll be admitted into; “match” schools- ones that are a good fit for your qualifications; and “reach” schools- ones whose admissions statistics (average GPA, test scores, etc.) are above yours. A basic rule of thumb is to apply to more reach than match and more match than safety. 4 reach, 3 match and 2 safety is a pretty good balance. Remember: Don’t sacrifice quantity for quality. According to The College Board, 79% of students are admitted to their first choice school!

Jennifer Dryfoos

How many schools should I apply to?

Though that number can vary a great deal, I recommend that most students apply to 6-8 colleges. They need at least two “safety” school — colleges that we *know* they can get into. Two in the mid-range (a good chance of admittance) and perhaps two “reach” schools. Students needing a lot of financial aid (and especially international students who need any aid) may end up applying to more schools so that they have more financial aid packages to compare. Some students only apply to one school though — if they are admitted early decision or early action. Sometimes one is the lucky number!

Anne RichardsonDirector of College Counseling, International & ESL ProgramsKents Hill School

How many schools should I apply to?

The number is not as important as the range of schools. It is always important to apply to a range of schools – some reaches on down to some likely schools. A range is especially important if finances are going to figure into your choice of schools. Again, apply to a range of schools, remembering that some of the more expensive private schools have much better aid packages than state and public schools. Above all, each school on your list should be a school that you have researched; each school on your list should be a school where you can see yourself happily studying and living next fall.

Kayla McCormick

A Reasonable Number

How many schools should I apply for is a question I receive often. I tell students to apply to no less than 2 colleges, but try to keep it under 5. If a student has unlimited funds and wants to apply to 10 colleges go for it. Application fees can really add up and that is the reason I tell students to limit how many colleges they apply for. On the other end of the spectrum, even though there are many students that know they want to go to a specific school, they should still apply to a second school as a backup plan.

Daniel Rufner

I suggest students apply to 4-6 schools

When I applied to college I only applied to two strong schools. Looking back, that was risky for both admissions and scholarships. Though I felt I did my research and was confident on my acceptance, even as an out-of-state to the University of California system, things could have worked out differently than I foresaw, so I strongly suggest more than two. On the other side, I don’t see a need to apply to a great number of schools. Doing so suggests little research as to school fit was done prior to applying so one is just hoping, and wasting time and finances on applications a student would either not get into or choose to go pending other acceptances. I suggest two safety schools (near certain admissions high above criteria), 1-2 good fit schools (for academics/environment) and 1-2 reach schools that you may not be accepted to nor may be able to afford, but great if you do.

Jennifer

College apps

I tell students to apply broadly to between 6-8 colleges on average. Students need to have at least 1-2 “safety” schools. This means that your GPA and test scores are well above what other students at that particular school had to get in. Safety schools are insurance that you will have a school to attend if you don’t get into other schools you have applied. Students need to have 2-3 “middle of the road” schools. These schools are right on par with the students GPA and test scores and students have a high likelihood of admission. Students can also apply to 2-3 “dream schools”. Students at these schools have higher GPA’s and higher test scores than you do and the chances for admission are not as good as with a middle of the road or safety school.

Dana WaldropSchool CounselorOak Grove High School

How many schools do you apply to?

I recommend applying to five schools. Five schools gives you the option of the schools you really want and adds one or two that also meet the qualifications of things you’re looking for. Keep in mind that there are application fees each time you apply somewhere. Cutting down the number of schools you apply to keeps your cost down and it helps you to start narrowing down what you actually want in a school.

Maria MontezGuidance CounselorSan Luis High School

How many is too many?

I encourage you to apply to those colleges and/or Universities that meet your needs. Many students apply for the sake of applying but it is important to know which school you are financially able to attend. Another important factor to take into consideration is whether the school offers the degree that you are seeking. I encourage you to research these two factors.

Tracey EcholsCounselor

How many schools should I apply to?

I suggest that you apply to at least 3. One should be your absolute first choice, second should be your absolute back up and the third would be your one school that you’re “interesting in, but playing around” or “you’re not sure but it looks interesting.” Heck, I would even suggest to apply for more BUT it can be time consuming AND VERY, VERY expensive.

Stan Ezekiel

Number of colleges to apply to

Because of the competition I feel a high school senior should apply to 6 to 10 colleges.

Sydney Rucker

The Numbers Game: How many applications should you submit?

This is one of the most popular questions that I get from students and parents. Honestly, it comes down to two factors: interest and feasibility. The application process can be very stressful. It is best for both students and parents to know their options when it comes to successfully completing this process. I recommend that students apply to seven to nine institutions. There should also be a diverse pool of applicants based on institution selectivity. This is where the two factors come in. First, let’s address interest. In higher education, colleges and universities are in the market of prestige. It is very easy to get caught up in the name game, but that does not mean that these institutions are the best institutions for you. There are a great number of institutions that provide great learning environments, both inside and outside of the classroom. Next, there’s feasibility. We are currently in a recession. Many families are struggling financially, and the application process can become quite expensive. To ameliorate these circumstances, it is best to utilize as many resources as possible. Consider using the Common Application; application discount options from your counselor; and encouraging students to practice money management skills when preparing their applications (i.e. remind students of their applications when they consider buying video games, clothing, or concert tickets). Though many people are experiencing a financial crunch, it does not mean that a student’s application experience should suffer.

Kimberly ParsonsCounselorHerbert Hoover High School

Applying to schools

You need to apply to as many schools as you feel comfortable applying to. However, narrowing down your options is going to benefit you in the long run. Researching schools you are interested in, visiting the campus, talking to students who are currently attending that college, can all be helpful to you, in narrowing down what college is going to be the best fit for you. Most of the students I work with apply to 4 of 5 colleges, and I always tell them that it doesn’t hurt to apply, and have an application on file, just in case something happens with their first choice.

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

How Many Applications for the International Student?

When working with either domestic or international students, I recommend they apply to 10 schools; 3 “Likely” where they have a strong chance of admissions, 4 “Target” where the chances of admission are 50/50 and 3 “Dreams” where the chance of admission is low. For me it is crucial that students apply to at least 3 “Likely” and 4 “Target” schools that are good matches and where they would be happy to attend. If a family insists on applying to more than three dreams, the overall number of applications increases to be sure to have at least 7 colleges where the student has good chance of several acceptances. The goal is to ensure that the student has several good options in April.

Cary Kennedy

Applying to College: How many schools?

Students should apply to two colleges in each of the following categories: Dream Schools: You are reaching for your ultimate choice without considering financial constraints. You may be under the middle fifty percent in GPA and test scores. Likely Schools: You have lookes at the cost and are in the middle fifty percent in GPA and test scores. You have visited and like the campus. Safety Schools: You are certain cost and GPA/Test scores will get you in to this college. Having this back-up is important in this economy.

Erica WhiteCollege & Career CounselorMiddletown High School

How many schools should I apply to?

The average student applies to 6 schools. However, with admission to college becoming tougher each year and that fact that many students are receiving free/priority applications, this number is bound to increase. The students that I work with typically apply to an average of 8 schools (2 safety schools, 3-4 targets, and 2-3 reach schools).

Peter Danaher

Pjd: How many schools to apply to

4. A student should apply for a reach/dream school; then, a college (or two) that he wants to go to and has a chance of getting into. Number 4 is a college that a student will get into, using this an option just in case.

Barbara Jones

Number of schools to be considered by students

I recommend that in the junior year of high school students should research any where from five to seven school. Reasearch these potential institutions and the programs they may offer that would meet the individuals expectations. Students should open an line of communication with counselors/recruiters to determine if additional options would be avaliable if the specific area of interest is not listed. Apply to all in the summer of the junior year or no later than October of the senior year.

Rick ThompsonHigh School CounselorGarland ISD

As many as you want

I would apply for whatever schools you feel most comfortable with. I would look at the requirements to get into that specific college and see if it meets your criteria. Do what you feel is most comfortable. Just remember, if you apply for a certain college, you might want to follow up with them to see if they received all your information. Good Luck!

Dale BonavitaCounselorFalcon Virtual Academy

How many schools should you apply to?

I strongly suggest about 5 colleges maximum. I like to tell students to apply to their dream school-the one they would LOVE to go to, then their next 2 choices as well. Then I suggest you also apply to a local school that you know you can certainly get in to and lastly a fall back school, so that IF anything happens you know you can go there!

Kathryn Lento

It’s not all about the number…

More important than the total number, is to have schools in each of the following categories: safety (shocked if you did not get in), likely (50% chance or higher) and reach (It’s possible, but not likely). Make sure you have at least one safety school that you really like and will not feel like you are settling. If scholarships are an important factor, you may want to apply to a greater number of schools to increase your chances of getting money.

Nicole Morrison-Mathern

How many schools should I apply to?

There is no magical number of schools you should apply to. It is often recommended to limit your applications to ten, but again that number is not set in stone. The number of schools you’ll apply to will vary according to a number of factors (test scores, grades, geographical area, major, cost etc). You will want to apply to two different categories of schools. 1. Dream schools, the school you’ve always wanted to get into. 2. Safe schools, schools you know you’ll get into that aren’t highly selective. A couple of others things to take into consideration when deciding how many schools you should apply to are 1. Each school may have a supplemental application on top of the Common Application which will take time. 2. Each school has an application fee ranging from $25 to $100 or more (be on the watch for waivers – sometimes schools waive their application fee which could save you money).

Jean Marie Buckley, M.Ed, MPA, CEPPresidentBuckley Educational Group, LLC

Choosing the number of applications

The process of college selection is one of the most important facets in the college planning process. Students must look within and be self-reflective as they uncover the essential components of each college to which they will be applying. With this in mind, my recommendation for the number of applications is in the approximate range of ten schools. This number will increase and vary with performing art, portfolio and athletic applicants. The number of ten should represent a wide range of school options based on a student’s interest, a student’s objective data and a student’s detailed list of characteristics. As the list of ten is fine-tuned, the list must represent a ‘bell curve’ of difficulty as it directly relates to their applicant profile.

Donna LandrethHS Counselor/Educational ConsultantFounder and Owner of Expert College Planning

How many schools should I apply to?

I have always recommended that students apply to between 6-10 schools within their college application process. A student should have 2 or 3 reach schools, 3 to 4 middle tier schools, and at least one safety net school. ( a school you know you qualify for automatic admission to)

Barry Williams

How many schools should I apply to?

You should apply to 5-8 colleges, and there should be a range of admission difficulty. You probably should not apply to more than 8 because you are busy with school work, athletics, part-time work and volunteering, etc.

Tony BankstonDean of AdmissionsIllinois Wesleyan University

Too Many Fishing Poles Makes for Bad Fishing

Imagine yourself in a small row boat trying to manage twenty different fishing poles, all of them with lines in the water. Do you think you are more likely to catch fish just because you’ve got so many poles working at once? The reality is that you are actually more likely to spend most of your time untangling knots and dealing with other problems. The college application process is not much different. Applying to a large number of colleges doesn’t increase your odds of getting admitted our securing that rare full-tuition scholarship. But it may very likely cause you to conduct a watered down college search and, in the end, make a bad decision. If you do your research ahead of time and take time to visit different types of college campuses (big, medium, small), you should be able to give yourself plenty of options by applying to five or six colleges. Even with just five or six colleges, you can have one safety school, two moderately selective schools, and three reach schools. You can have a combination of both less expensive public schools and more expensive private schools. With fewer applications “in the water,” you are more likely to keep up with the paperwork, meet deadlines, etc. In the end, you will likely only have enough time to fully investigate your top two to three college choices. Better to give those colleges a great look than spend all your time sifting through all the confusion of keeping up with twenty applications.

Tanda Jolley

If you are planning on attending college…

You should apply to a minimum of three colleges

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

The number of colleges you should apply to

I recommend that a student apply to 6-8 colleges they have researched and feel would be a good fit. The numbers of applications being submitted by many students is ridiculous; they are known as “stealth applications”. These are applications to colleges that have not been researched or “vetted” by the student, they are just applying in case they don’t get in anywhere else. Please don’t do this! Research your colleges, visit your colleges in person or online, contact the admissions rep’s at the colleges to introduce yourself and perhaps set up an interview. Don’t be a stealth applicant. If you truly do your homework and know the colleges you are applying to, there is no reason to apply to more than 10 at the very most.

Christina ReynoldsGuidance Counselor

How many applications is enough?

There is no magic number about how many colleges a student should apply to. There are many different factors that may influence how many colleges you apply to, they may include how much research on schools you have done beforehand, if you are applying to a specialized program, how many application fees your parents are willing to pay for and how much work you are willing to put in to complete these applications. The only thing that I do recommend is that you apply to 2-3 schools that are within your range for GPA and test scores that you are likely to get into AND would be happy going to. In the end you want to give yourself options and this will be the best way to ensure that you have them.

Dale FordCounseling Department ChairSingapore American School

It depends…

If you have an absolute first choice school and you don’t require financial aid you should definitely apply Early Decision (ED) if that’s an option for your first choice school. Wait to hear and then apply to more places if you are deferred or denied. Colleges love to be loved (and want to know which students are really planning to attend) so ED improves the odds. If ED is not an option, apply to a couple of colleges likely to admit you, a couple mid range, and a couple reach schools. Just make certain that you will be admitted to at least one place where you would be happy to spend your next four years.

Diana HansonCommon Sense College CounselingCollege Mentors

It all depends

The number of schools is less important than making sure you have a great mix of schools. Have you selected colleges that meet your needs academically and socially? Assuming you have, I usually recommend having 2-3 colleges in each category of enrollment expectation–reach, target, and safety. Though, of course, many students will have more or fewer on their list. Generally, students who are able to visit colleges ahead of time will have fewer on their application list than those who won’t be visiting in person until after they receive acceptances. I also recommend making sure that your safety schools are all colleges you’d enjoy attending. (I define a safety school is one where your grades and test scores are above the middle 50% for that college and where the college accepts at least half the applicants…and remember that these are also the colleges where you have the best chance of receiving merit aid).

Lynda McGeeCollege CounselorDowntown Magnets High School

Apply only to schools you love!

Students tend to focus on the “how many” question when it comes to college applications, when what they really should think about is “Do I love this school? Would I attend if I got in?”. Too many students choose “safeties” that they would never attend. A good rule of thumb is to apply to 2 or at the most 3 schools that tend to accept students with stronger credentials than yours, 2 or 3 where you are smack in the middle of their acceptance numbers, and another 2 where you would be considered a top student. You can only attend one school, so that is more than enough applications to suffer through. Just be sure that all your choices are schools where you would be happy.

Rotarsha Jackson

How many schools should I apply to?

A student should apply to 3-6 schools. A student should apply to a “safety” school which is a school that the student knows he/she will definitely get admitted to without a problem; a “target” school which is the school that the student has all of the requirements for and feels like they “should” get in and a “reach” school, which is a school where they may have most of the requirements, not all, but the admissions decision could go either way.

Laree HenningCo-founderGlobal Guidance College Counseling Services

Consider these factors when determining how many schools to apply to

The classic textbook answer is to apply to between 5-10 schools. Factors to consider when starting the application process are… -Application deadlines (including whether you want to apply early action or early decision), as well as when you begin the application process, If you’ve procrastinated, it will behoove you to shorten your list. -How competitive are the colleges/universities on your list? You should apply to a minimum of 3 “safety” schools where you are almost certain to be admitted and that you would like to attend. From there, you may decide to apply to 2-3 “target” schools (around 50-50 chance of admission) and finally 2 “reach” schools, if you wish. “Reach” schools are often defined as schools where admission is unlikely but not impossible. You gamble the most in applying to these schools due to the time you will invest and your slim chance of admission. -Whether you’ve demonstrated interest in the school. This has become a key factor in admission decisions and includes how much research you have done, as well as your contact with the school. Don’t be a stealth applicant–one who applies to a college/university without ever contacting it.

Darryl JonesSr. Associate Director of Admissions, Coordinator for Multicultural Admission/Intercollegiate Athletics LiaisonGettysburg College

How Many is Too Many?

I think the number of schools depends on how many you can honestly see yourself applying to and potentially attending. Seeking the proper fit in a college or university academically, personally, and socially will give you the best opportunity to thrive. There are realistically several places that will suit your needs, but as far as choosing the best matches for you, probably ten applications will suffice. Good Luck! Darryl

Kim Love

To How Many Colleges Should I Apply

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Students should start with about 15 schools and narrow the list to about 6 or 7. It is important that the school feels right to you. Once you have narrowed your list it is really important to visit as many schools as you can before narrowing the list further or making a final decision.

Tiziana Cotumaccio

How many colleges/universities should you apply to?

at least 5 but make sure one or teo are safety schools (meaning you will definitely be accepted).

Amy Thompson

How many schools should a student apply to?

I always tell my students to apply to at least 6 schools no more than 10. The first thing they need to do before applying is to find out what the eligibility requirements are of a particular school and make sure they have the right test scores and/or GPA for acceptance. The student also needs to make sure that the schools they apply to have the major or a few majors they are interested in studying. Lastly, before applying, they need to visit the campus to make sure it is an environment they will be comfortable living in for the next four years. The student should have at least 3 schools that are their top choices. These are the schools that the student really has their heart set on. They know they have the right GPA and test scores that are needed to be accepted, they have visited the campus and the school has the major that they are interested in studying. Then they should apply to 3 schools that are maybe not their first choice but that they know they will be accepted based on academics and test scores, they have a few majors they are interested in studying and the student will still be happy attending. Lastly, the student also needs to apply to 2 schools that are safety schools. Maybe the student has a lower GPA or test scores which do not allow them to go to their first or second choice schools. These may be schools they plan to attend for a year or two in order to achieve a higher GPA so that they may transfer to one of their top choice schools.

Amy FeinsownerAMF College Consulting

Magic number

I suggest applying to somwhere between 7 and 12 schools, with the groups pretty evenly split between reach, solid, and safety schools. It is important that the student be willing(and happy!) to attend ANY of the schools on the list.We’re getting to the point in the year (November) when students like to start adding schools in a panic, worried that they either won’t get in anywhere or simply because the common application makes it so easy. Try to not give in to this temptation…it’s a waste of time and money.

Amy Thompson

How many schools should a student apply to?

I always tell my students to apply to at least 6 schools no more than 10. The first thing they need to do before applying is to find out what the eligibility requirements are of a particular school and make sure they have the right test scores and/or GPA for acceptance. The student also needs to make sure that the schools they apply to have the major or a few majors they are interested in studying. Lastly, before applying, they need to visit the campus to make sure it is an environment they will be comfortable living in for the next four years. The student should have at least 3 schools that are their top choices. These are the schools that the student really has their heart set on. They know they have the right GPA and test scores that are needed to be accepted, they have visited the campus and the school has the major that they are interested in studying. Then they should apply to 3 schools that are maybe not their first choice but that they know they will be accepted based on academics and test scores, they have a few majors they are interested in studying and the student will still be happy attending. Lastly, the student also needs to apply to 2 schools that are safety schools. Maybe the student has a lower GPA or test scores which do not allow them to go to their first or second choice schools. These may be schools they plan to attend for a year or two in order to achieve a higher GPA so that they may transfer to one of their top choice schools.

Amy Thompson

How many schools should a student apply to?

I always tell my students to apply to at least 6 schools no more than 10. The first thing they need to do before applying is to find out what the eligibility requirements are of a particular school and make sure they have the right test scores and/or GPA for acceptance. The student also needs to make sure that the schools they apply to have the major or a few majors they are interested in studying. Lastly, before applying, they need to visit the campus to make sure it is an environment they will be comfortable living in for the next four years. The student should have at least 3 schools that are their top choices. These are the schools that the student really has their heart set on. They know they have the right GPA and test scores that are needed to be accepted, they have visited the campus and the school has the major that they are interested in studying. Then they should apply to 3 schools that are maybe not their first choice but that they know they will be accepted based on academics and test scores, they have a few majors they are interested in studying and the student will still be happy attending. Lastly, the student also needs to apply to 2 schools that are safety schools. Maybe the student has a lower GPA or test scores which do not allow them to go to their first or second choice schools. These may be schools they plan to attend for a year or two in order to achieve a higher GPA so that they may transfer to one of their top choice schools.

ting huang

Rita

I think 5 universities will be the best choice. While we have choose those 5 universities in different levels. 2 universities are the one you wanna go most and there is a little possibility to be admitted and just wanna have a try; 1 university is that there is 60% to get admission; 2 universities are we have 85% to be admitted. And mostly important is that those universities are the one I want to enter and there are something is good for me. For example, University of Massachusetts-boston, we have to say that in Boston there are a lot of famous universites, while we are going to study there, we can get a better academic experience there, and also Boston is a good city. Then I think this university will be a good choice for those who are not egible to study in Harvard ones. For undergraduate student, we should focus on undergraduate academic study, campus life and class size and school communities, activities.

Darla Andrews

How many schools should I apply to?

Students should apply to at least three colleges.

Kathryn Moody

How many schools should I apply to?

While there is no perfect number of schools a student should apply to, having a solid list that includes several “reach”, “realities” and “safeties” is my recommendation. A student should stretch themselves and perhaps apply to a few schools that may be more challenging to get into. The reality schools are ones that have admissions criteria that are simialr to a student’s academic profile. The safety school is one in which a student’s academic profile matches or surpasses the school’s published admissions statistics. It would be ideal for a student to love their safety school as much as they love their reach.

David WeinerDirector of College CounselingFredericksburg Academy

How many schools should I apply to?

Typically, you should apply to six to eight schools — a few reaches, a few matches, and a few safeties. I also highly encourage students to understand the difference between reach schools and impossible schools. For example, if you’re a run of the mill student with a 1200 SAT, a 3.5 GPA, and a demanding curriuculum of a few AP or IB courses, you probably shouldn’t apply to Harvard. Simply put, it’s impossible for you to get in unless you’re Barack Obama’s son, your father just donated $35 million to the school, or you’re a top-notch sports recruit. Too many students say to me, “What’s the problem? Why can’t I just throw in an application to see what happens?” First, filling out an application for one of the elite schools takes a lot of time. Second, all you’re doing is making schools like Harvad seem more selective by helping them reduce their admit rates. Third, why would you want to give Harvard the pleasure of denying you?

Aaron Kind

Is 15 too many schools to apply to??

The answer depends on a variety of factors. However, the short answer is 7-12 colleges should provide the student with a well rounded list of safety, target, and reach schools. Some of the other factors to consider when formulating your list include; -financial need, if you are looking for merit scholarships maybe you want to apply to more colleges that award merit aid. -selectivity of desired colleges (you always want a balanced list) -timeline of your application ie. If someone applies Early Action and hears back from said school in December. The remaining list could be shorter or longer depending upon the desired schools.

Jason LumPresidentwww.scholaredge.com

How many schools should I apply to?

It depends on the acceptance rate of the schools. If you are applying to schools that accept 75%+ of their applicants, then there is little need to apply to a wide range of schools. If you are like most of my clients who are applying to the US News Top 25 colleges, then you’d better be applying to 10+ schools because nobody is a sure thing at a Harvard or Stanford – and anyone that promises you admission to an Ivy is less than truthful. You have to play the odds, which is where a good consultant comes into play.

Katherine PriceSenior AssociateGreat College Advice

How Many Is Too Many?

We often receive this question from our clients. The answer, as frustrating as this may be is that it depends. Every student is going to have a different experience with the college search process and with most college applications being on-line; it is easier than ever to submit multiple college applications. The problem is that with applications fees it can be expensive, so it is important to narrow down your options. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to decide the right number for you: – Keep it Balanced: the main thing students should keep in mind when looking at their final list is that it is balanced. You need to make sure you have the right number of reach, obtainable and safety schools. If you want to apply to one school and it is a safety school, then go for it. – Indecisive? Then look for variety: A lot of students think they have only apply to a certain type of school (small vs. large; public vs. private, etc.) but if the time to submit your applications comes and you still aren’t sure if you would be happy at a small liberal arts school or the large public school with the dream football team, then apply to both. As long as both schools have academic offerings you are interested in, then it makes sense to be able to make the decision later. – Show Me the Money: If you are planning on comparing financial aid packages as a part of your final decision making process, then you should consider applying to more schools. This will hopefully give you more to choose from. The bottom line is that you can only choose one college to attend. For some of my students, making that final decision was the hardest part of the entire process, but they are always grateful they have options!

Deborah HellerDirector of College CounselingBeacon School

Applications

Most students apply to 6-8 schools traditionally. I would say try to limit yourself to 10 schools. As long as your list is balanced there should be no reason you need to apply to more than that. To have a balanced list you should make sure to have at least two schools in each of the following catagories: Likely (schools that have an average GPA and Scores significantly below what you have), Target (schools that have an average GPA and scores similar to yours), or Reach (schools that have an average GPA and Scores significantly above what you have and/or accept less than 40% of their applicants).

Don Adams

How many schools should I apply to?

I would recommend four to six as an appropriate number. If you’re applying to overseas schools, you may want to apply to as many as eight schools. Since the application process is somewhat less unfamiliar to foreign students, and their knowledge of specific schools is also usually less than that of domestic students, it makes sense to apply to more than local students would usually apply to. Assuming you are admitted to more than one of the schools you apply to, you will be able to take the necessary time to fully explore them to see which one is the most appropriate fit for you.

Mark MontgomeryFounderMontgomery Educational Counseling

You’re Going To Attend Only One College, So…

The minimum number of applications is one. Generally students apply to too many: they apply willy-nilly without thinking hard enough from the get-go whether the schools on their list really fit them. Also, students forget basic statistics: your chances at School B do not increase if you are rejected by School A. Applying to more schools does not guarantee success. Applying to two or three that fit you academically and socially is a much better plan than wantonly applying to a bunch you don’t really know much about.

Susan KarasekGuidance CounselorEstrella Foothills High School

How many schools should I apply to?

The answer may vary depending on the student, however, applying to 4-6 colleges may be a good goal to set. This allows students to apply to in-state colleges as well as applying to out-of-state schools. Students goal may also include applying to their dream school.

Katherine Oldham

How many colleges?

I usually recommend applying to between 5 and 8 colleges. Any less and your options may be limited, any more and it may become confusing when trying to remember details about each school.

Kristin WhiteDirectorDarien Academic Advisors

How many schools should I apply to?

The question of the number of schools to apply to depends on the student’s unique circumstances. The traditional formula of “2 reaches, 2 good match, 2 safeties” might work best for some students. But those who hope to attend an ultra competitive college, such as an Ivy League school or Stanford, Duke, etc. might not be comfortable applying to only 2 of them. Many kids who aspire to attend these schools find that their odds increase if they apply to 5 or 6 reaches. In some cases, they are right, as there are students who are rejected from many top schools, but only get into one . In many cases, students aren’t admitted to any of these reaches at all, so applying to the extra schools didn’t make a difference. You can talk to a counselor or look closely at your academic profile in order to make this decision. Some students apply Early Decision and thus only apply to one school, which works for them. Those who hope for a meaningful financial aid package usually don’t want to limit it one school, and hope to apply to more in order to have several financial options, or to use one financial aid package as a negotiating tool with a different college. These are a few thoughts on the question, but overall, the number of colleges you apply to depends on your personal situation.

MacKenzie LeFort

How many Schools Should you apply to.

I believe that you should apply to about 3 school. The first one; one that you want to go to but might be a long shot. Secondly; you should apply to a state school. Thirdly; Apply to a school you know your going to get into to. Before making your final decision tour each school. Then review the financial packages. You might get a better deal by going to a certain one over the other. If you have any other questions feel free to email [email protected]

sally champagneownerBeacon Star Educational Consulting

No Magic Eight Ball…

Even if a student has a perfect academic record, is involved in their school or community and they have perfect testing results (all of which might be too good to be true), there is no magic answer to this question. With the current landscape of competitive college admissions, a student should cast a broader net and apply to several schools. For some, their net might contain half a dozen schools and these selections would always include a couple of “good bet” colleges (i.e. a “good bet” is a school where the student has a significant probability of being admitted). As long as the student is happy with their choices for their “good bets” then the student can reach for the stars. I would never discourage a student from applying to their dream college even if the chances of being admitted were microscopic — the student then never needs to wonder “What if…?”. Typically, students will apply to 10 to 12 schools. While it is important to have choices, remember, you can only attend one college. Select schools which appeal to you in terms of your academic and extracurricular interests, location, size and make-up of the student body. Be discerning but also open to colleges you’ve never heard about — the one you’ve never heard about just might end up being your dream school.

sally champagneownerBeacon Star Educational Consulting

No Magic Eight Ball…

Even if a student has a perfect academic record, is involved in their school or community and they have perfect testing results (all of which might be too good to be true), there is no magic answer to this question. With the current landscape of competitive college admissions, a student should cast a broader net and apply to several schools. For some, their net might contain half a dozen schools and these selections would always include a couple of “good bet” colleges (i.e. a “good bet” is a school where the student has a significant probability of being admitted). As long as the student is happy with their choices for their “good bets” then the student can reach for the stars. I would never discourage a student from applying to their dream college even if the chances of being admitted were microscopic — the student then never needs to wonder “What if…?”. Typically, students will apply to 10 to 12 schools. While it is important to have choices, remember, you can only attend one college. Select schools which appeal to you in terms of your academic and extracurricular interests, location, size and make-up of the student body. Be discerning but also open to colleges you’ve never heard about — the one you’ve never heard about just might end up being your dream school.

Esmeralda Aroz

Reach for the stars and beyond!

I like to see my students list at least 5 schools of interest including their ‘reach’ schools. If you have not heard of the Common Application, where you complete just ONE for multiple universities across the country, I would suggest you take 5 minutes to do the research.

Lisa CarltonOwnerwww.collegematchpoint.com

Step 1: Create a well balanced college list

This is such a tricky question and it depends partially on the student’s situation. You want to make sure that you apply to at least one college that you are very likely to receive an acceptance. Next, you will want to add in a number of “match” schools. These are schools where your profile matches closely to the middle 50% of the college’s profile. Typically, a student will have 3-6 match schools. Finally, you may want to put that dream school on your list even if it is a stretch. Typically, my students apply to between 6-8 schools. You will find students who apply to many more than that; however, if your list is well crafted 8 colleges should be more than enough. The trick is to make sure you have a solid, balanced college list.

Dr. Stabile

How many schools should I apply to?

Five to seven colleges

Jennifer HawleySchool CounselorHill Regional Career HS

Number of College Applications

It is important when applying to schools that you are familiar and interested in that school. Students need to be aware of the cost of the applications, by narrowing down a list it is more reasonable and manageable. It is overwhelming get a lot of mail but even though they get the information in the mail it is not a school they should be applying to. Generally I tell my students around 6 schools is a good number. No more than 10 schools as then it becomes hard to handle. It takes a lot to apply to school. Not only the cost of the application but the time and effort spent on each should be time they are wanting to put in. Apply to schools you could see yourself at, walking on the campus, taking courses in the major you are interested in…This is why it is so important to narrow the list to 5-8 schools and anxiously await their reply.

Shawna MyersCounselorHigh School, Portland , OR

How many schools should I apply to?

You are allowed to apply to as many schools as you would like. Each school requires that you pay an application fee, so I would suggest picking 3-5 schools. Make sure you have at least one school as a back up – just in case all the others fall through.

Jill RaySchool Counselor

How many schools should I apply to?

What I usually tell my students is to apply to at least three schools – one safety, or a school you know you’ll get in, one you really want to be accepted to, and then if you can, one “reach” school, or somewhere you think you may not get into. You never know!

Tara Brown

How many is too many?

There isn’t a set answer to this question, as students’ situations differ greatly. However, on average, I typically recommend that students apply to about eight colleges – a reach or two, a safety or two and a number of target schools. After working hard throughout high school, it is always nice for students to have a number of acceptances from which to choose.

Suzanne ShafferOwnerParents Countdown to College Coach

How many schools should I apply to?

Most students apply to between 7 to 10 colleges. Make sure that your applications fall into 3 categories: your reach schools (colleges that might be a reach but POSSIBLE); your match schools (colleges that you would be right in line with the average student accepted); your safety schools (colleges where your qualifications are measurably above the average applicant).

Connie Boger

Number of Applications

I would advise applying to at least three colleges: a “reach, dream” school, a “sure thing” school and one in the middle.

M PinkermanCounselorHuntington High School

How many schools should I apply to?

You should only apply to schools that you are seriously interested in attending. Most counselors will tell you to apply to a “safety school”. A safety school refers to a college that you know you will get in and can go to just in case you do not meet the requirements of your dream school. Another factor to consider when applying is application fees. Application fees vary from $30 up to $100 per school. Applying can get expensive, especially if you apply to schools just to see if you can get in. Some colleges will grant application waivers based on income, but you need to check with each school’s admission office for more information. Also, before applying make sure you check the admission requirements.

Joshua EarsleyStudent Assistance CoordinatorReach Out

More than 5. Less than 10.

This gives you a wide range and your chances of being accepted into some of your top choices are much more likely.

Christopher MartyAdmissions CounselorGoucher College

Less is More

After good research and planning, I would advise you to apply to between 7 and 9 schools. With that said, there is certainly no magic number! Each school on your short list should be a college/university that you would be happy attending. Whether its a “safety,” “fit,” or “reach” school, it has no business being on the list if you would never matriculate. For example, as a California resident I felt great pressure to apply to the UC-System. I did apply, and received some good news, but it was a wasted application – I should have have had the foresight to know that I wanted a MUCH smaller academic, and social environment. Furthermore, and unfortunately, applying to more schools does not increase your chances of getting into the most selective schools. For the most part, either you’re qualified or you aren’t. Your final list NEEDS to be a balance of surefire admittances, and reaches. All the online research in the world can not replace a college visit. Students will SO often point to that “gut feeling” or just a “good vibe” about one specific school. With that said, I’d encourage you to not place TOO much emphasis on your overnight stay. Too often students mistake their host’s personality for the over-arching vibe of a campus community. Sometimes you won’t click with your overnight host. That’s OK. This does not mean the school isn’t your perfect school. Quick summary: start early, narrow your list to under 10 schools, and make sure you ask yourself if you would attend a school before applying. If your answer is “No,” you’re wasting both your time and that of the admissions officer. 😉 – Chris Good luck!

Jill KaratkewiczCounselorEast Hampton High School

It Depends!

There is no “magic number” of schools to apply to. However, it IS important to make sure that you apply to a good balance of schools with regard to safety, match, and reach schools (with respect to you as a student vs. the average student who gets accepted at the college). For example, if you applied to 6 schools, 1-2 should be safety schools, 3-4 should be match schools, and 1-2 reach schools. Some students apply to far fewer than six schools, and others apply to many more! Applying to fewer schools obviously has an impact on the amount of money you will spend on applications upfront, but applying to a greater number of schools may give you more options on the other end when comparing financial aid packages from the colleges that have accepted you.

John Smith

How many schools should I apply to?

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Chyriell Drain-HillDirector of School CounselingBelleville Township HS East

How many appplications should I submit?

I recommend a minimum of 3 college applications.

Nancy CaineDirector of College CounselingSt. Augustine High School

Nancy Caine

The number of schools you apply to often depends on what you are looking for in a college. The usual advice is to apply to at least one college you know you can get in and afford, two-three colleges where your profile fits their criteria very well, and one or two schools that look like “reasonable reaches”. Sometimes you may be limited by your own finances and cannot apply to so many schools. On the other hand, with so many colleges offering free applications, you may actually be able to extend your quest and apply to more. Students looking for money often need to apply more broadly, and sometimes those looking for sports opportunities need to do so as well. At any rate, limiting yourself to no more than ten seems to be a good suggestion, and pervents too much anguish in the spring when you have to make a decision on one school.

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

How many schools should I apply to?

Some student intend to apply to many school as possible to ensure that they will have different option or to at least have one school that will accept their application. On the other hand, if the student has one dream school in mind and confident enough that they will get into it, they will send their application only to that school. Honestly, there’s no particular number of school application is required for the student to sent out. But most of school counselors recommend student to apply to five to eight schools. This can guarantee you that you won’t be left with nothing. At the end of the day what you should keep in mind is to apply only to school that you really want to have and stop yourself from applying to many just because you’re not that confident or applying too few because you’re too proud.

Donnamarie HehnDirector of College GuidanceCanterbury School of Florida

More than three and less than three hundred

Seriously, you should apply to a range of schools: some that you meet the minimum requirements, some for which you should meet the mid-range requirements, and some that would be a stretch for you to meet admission requirements. Generally, I would advise between seven and ten applications. No matter what the admission requirements are, all of the schools on your list should be colleges to which you would attend if you were accepted.

Yolanda SpivaExecutive DirectorProject GRAD Atlanta, Inc.

You Should Apply to As Many Schools As You’re Interested In!

While college application fee affordability is certainly a consideration, you should apply to as many schools as you have an interest, if you are able to apply to multiple schools. I encourage students to focus on their goals for college admission, as opposed to getting bogged down in the number of schools to which they have applied. If you are interested in programs of diverse types, at ten schools, for example–then apply to ten schools! The only caution I would provide is that should you gain admission to multiple schools which are equal in type, characteristics, and offerings, YOUR decision for which school to enroll in, will become all the more difficult. Further, you are unlikely to be able to visit all of the schools to which you apply, unless they are in an area proximate to one another, and college visitation is of utmost importance to determine the college’s visit for your personality and academic goals. In sum, you should apply to schools based on your professional, personal, and academic interests, but don’t overdo it to simply brag about the number of schools to which you have applied. When you apply to multiple schools, you are able to entertain the variety of scholarship, academic and other offerings, upon which to base your decision. At the end of the day, you should apply to college to gain admission, not accolades and popularity!

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

How many schools should I apply to?

It is always best to apply to six schools. Two schools that are considered “reach” or “highly competitive” schools for you, two schools that are “moderately competitive” or your GPA and test scores are where their ranges are, and two “safety” or “fallback” schools that your GPA and tests scores are above what they are looking for. It should be a flexible list that fits your GPA and test score ranges.

Maren Kroger-Diamond

“Magic Formula” 3 – 3 – 3

Myth: You have a better chance of being accepted somewhere if you apply to as many colleges as your application fee budget allows; or, to as many colleges your parents will agree to pay for the app fees. Reality: IF you take the time to do your homework by researching the schools you are interested in and perhaps finding the schools that may be a best fit for you, you may only need to apply to 9 colleges. An excellent place to start your research is at www.collegeboard.com, click on “Students”, at next screen scroll down and click on “College Search”. Have your current GPA and SAT scores on hand. The “Magic Formula 3 – 3 – 3” First 3: Your “reach” schools. Everything in your application package has to be near perfect for admission. Think, your dream schools. Second 3: Your “probable” schools. In other words, you meet the minimum requirements for admission. Third 3: Your “likely” schools. You exceed the minimum requirements for admission. Some may think of this category as their fall back schools. Best of luck to you.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Minimum number of schools to apply to

8-10

Esther Walling

How many is too many?

When you begin to apply to colleges hopefully you’ve already done your homework and researched the ones that have what you’re interested in. No use applying to a big name school if they don’t offer the major you want. Start with a list of about 30 that fit your requirements. You can use online sources like College Board and ACT to narrow down your choices by categories. If you have the chance to visit the ones on your list, do so. Look at your qualifications, talk to representatives, alumni, professors, sit in on classes. Use virtual tours if you can’t visit. All this will narrow down your list. A good number to apply to is around 10 to 15 which include some reaches (highly selective schools), some reasonable stretches (ones that you have a really good shot at) and some sure things which could even include community colleges. That should give you a manageable number to work with and compare. Good luck with your search!

Ted SkowronCounselorBrophy College Preparatory

consider 8 out of state schools

Most in-state universities have a rather set formula for admission that relies on gpa and standardized testing. Private schools will look not just at gpa and standardized test results but also on your reported activities, personal statement, and recommendations. When narrowing down one’s list, it is good to have two reach schools, four in the competitive range, and two that you most likely will be admitted.

Patricia SaddleOwnerThe College Planning Center LLC

How many schools should I apply to?

6-8

Kristin

Number of schools

A reasonable number of schools you should apply to is 4-6.

Tiffany Schweickert

How many schools should I apply to?

Two to three

Phil KerleeOwnerKerlee & Associates

How many schools shoudl I apply to?

Ideally, you should be applying to between 5 and 8 schools. 1-2 reach schools, schools you would love to attend, but realize that the chances aren’t so good, 2-4 target schools, schools where your academic profile will make you an average student, and 1-2 safety schools, where you are almost certain to be admitted. More importantly, have a specific reason to attend that school. Does the school have a specific major, professor or program you are interested in? Is it located in a place you would like to live? The fact that your boyfriend/girlfriend is going there, or that second cousin Myron loves it there, only means that the school is right for them. You need to find the schools that are right FOR YOU.

Pamela Hampton-GarlandOwnerScholar Bound

Number of schools to apply to:

I typically recommend that my students’ apply to 5 schools; there number 1 school after visiting and taking the standardized test that gives them a good indicator if the school will consider their application. I suggest that the 1st choice and 2nd choice are early action, (not early decision which is binding) and schools 3-5 after they have visited but before January to beat the late crowd of second semester applicants.

Brad JacksonDirector of College CounselingSan Domenico School

How many schools should I apply to?

As a general rule I ask students to apply to 8 schools: 2 which would be in the reach category, schools where your grades and Scores are on the low side of the middle 50% but schools where you really want to go; 2 on the Safety side, where your scores and grades are in the top of the mid 50% and schools where you really want to go; and 4 schools in the middle. The most important thing is that you can see yourself finding success and being happy at all the schools where you are applying.

Brad JacksonDirector of College CounselingSan Domenico School

How many schools should I apply to?

As a general rule I ask students to apply to 8 schools: 2 which would be in the reach category, schools where your grades and Scores are on the low side of the middle 50% but schools where you really want to go; 2 on the Safety side, where your scores and grades are in the top of the mid 50% and schools where you really want to go; and 4 schools in the middle. The most important thing is that you can see yourself finding success and being happy at all the schools where you are applying.

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Making it personal

This seems to be an annual question with a response that would be similar to questions from students requesting of faculty about the appropriate length a paper should be. The answer for the later would be the length that allows you to make a sound argument succinctly. You should not go on and on simply to met a certain length nor should you be so brief that you do not fully develop your argument. Similar logic applies to this question. If you have done your homework about institutions you are considering attending for the next four years, you should be able to identify at least three schools. One you should be able to gain admissions easily and you would be happy attending. Another school might be slightly more difficult to get into and the last may be a reach for you academically but you have a chance to be admitted. Keep in mind that each of these schools should meet your general criteria about size, location, academic reputation, programs that are offered and cost. Aside from this basic litmus test on these topics and the institutions selectivity, the most important question you need to ask yourself in order to answer this question rests solely in your hands as the applicant. This questions is: “How many applications can I complete well enough that I will have finished each of them to the best of my ability?” So many students have difficulty narrowing their list of school to which they would apply. As a result, I have these students go to the admissions essay and begin the process of answering that essay. This process requires a good deal of effort and for my students requires them to dig deep into the curriculum of their intended major, the job placement of the schools graduates for this major, the faculty in their major department and their related research. After this review and information gathering step the student must begin to articulate why this school and their career and academic major aspirations are a good match. Typically students will begin to see where some of their final schools begin to match their interests and aspirations better than others and therefore an application priority is established. They also begin to understand that they are better served in spending a good deal of time on the applications for the schools that really are a good match for them on this deeper level than finishing twice as many applications but not doing their best work on any of them. At this moment, most of my students begin to eliminate those falling toward the bottom of the list. The result is a shorter list but great applications and not just good ones. These are also the students who tend to find an acceptance letter from their reach schools rather than a rejection because they allowed themselves the time to fully, succinctly and convincingly complete each section of the admission applications. So my answer to this question is really more questions but for the student because as with many questions like this, the answer lies within you. I am just a guide to help you arrive at the answer that most appropriately matches your individual situation. Remember……How many great applications vs good applications can you complete? How sure do you want to be that you put your best effort into your “reach” school application? Have you completed a thorough review of all of the schools to which you feel you must apply so you can be absolutely sure that this school meets your educational needs and career aspirations? Now……to how many school will YOU apply?

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Make it personal….

This seems to be an annual question with a response that would be similar to questions from students requesting of faculty about the appropriate length a paper should be. The answer for the later would be the length that allows you to make a sound argument succinctly. You should not go on and on simply to met a certain length nor should you be so brief that you do not fully develop your argument. Similar logic applies to this question. If you have done your homework about institutions you are considering attending for the next four years, you should be able to identify at least three schools. One you should be able to gain admissions easily and you would be happy attending. Another school might be slightly more difficult to get into and the last may be a reach for you academically but you have a chance to be admitted. Keep in mind that each of these schools should meet your general criteria about size, location, academic reputation, programs that are offered and cost. Aside from this basic litmus test on these topics and the institutions selectivity, the most important question you need to ask yourself in order to answer this question rests solely in your hands as the applicant. This questions is: “How many applications can I complete well enough that I will have finished each of them to the best of my ability?” So many students have difficulty narrowing their list of school to which they would apply. As a result, I have these students go to the admissions essay and begin the process of answering that essay. This process requires a good deal of effort and for my students requires them to dig deep into the curriculum of their intended major, the job placement of the schools graduates for this major, the faculty in their major department and their related research. After this review and information gathering step the student must begin to articulate why this school and their career and academic major aspirations are a good match. Typically students will begin to see where some of their final schools begin to match their interests and aspirations better than others and therefore an application priority is established. They also begin to understand that they are better served in spending a good deal of time on the applications for the schools that really are a good match for them on this deeper level than finishing twice as many applications but not doing their best work on any of them. At this moment, most of my students begin to eliminate those falling toward the bottom of the list. The result is a shorter list but great applications and not just good ones. These are also the students who tend to find an acceptance letter from their reach schools rather than a rejection because they allowed themselves the time to fully, succinctly and convincingly complete each section of the admission applications. So my answer to this question is really more questions but for the student because as with many questions like this, the answer lies within you. I am just a guide to help you arrive at the answer that most appropriately matches your individual situation. Remember……How many great applications vs good applications can you complete? How sure do you want to be that you put your best effort into your “reach” school application? Have you completed a thorough review of all of the schools to which you feel you must apply so you can be absolutely sure that this school meets your educational needs and career aspirations? Now……to how many school will YOU apply?

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Make it personal….

This seems to be an annual question with a response that would be similar to questions from students requesting of faculty about the appropriate length a paper should be. The answer for the later would be the length that allows you to make a sound argument succinctly. You should not go on and on simply to meet a certain length nor should you be so brief that you do not fully develop your argument. Similar logic applies to this question. If you have done your homework about institutions you are considering attending for the next four years, you should be able to identify at least three schools. One you should be able to gain admissions easily and you would be happy attending. Another school might be slightly more difficult to get into and the last may be a reach for you academically but you have a chance to be admitted. Keep in mind that each of these schools should meet your general criteria about size, location, academic reputation, programs that are offered and cost. Aside from this basic litmus test on these topics and the institutions selectivity, the most important question you need to ask yourself in order to answer this question rests solely in your hands as the applicant. This question is: “How many applications can I complete well enough that I will have finished each of them to the best of my ability?” So many students have difficulty narrowing their list of school to which they would apply. As a result, I have these students go to the admissions essay and begin the process of answering that essay. This process requires a good deal of effort and for my students requires them to dig deep into the curriculum of their intended major, the job placement of the schools graduates for this major, the faculty in their major department and their related research. After this review and information gathering step the student must begin to articulate why this school and their career and academic major aspirations are a good match. Typically students will begin to see where some of their final schools begin to match their interests and aspirations better than others and therefore an application priority is established. They also begin to understand that they are better served in spending a good deal of time on the applications for the schools that really are a good match for them on this deeper level than finishing twice as many applications but not doing their best work on any of them. At this moment, most of my students begin to eliminate those falling toward the bottom of the list. The result is a shorter list but great applications and not just good ones. These are also the students who tend to find an acceptance letter from their reach schools rather than a rejection because they allowed themselves the time to fully, succinctly and convincingly complete each section of the admission applications. So my answer to this question is really more questions but for the student because as with many questions like this, the answer lies within you. I am just a guide to help you arrive at the answer that most appropriately matches your individual situation. Remember……How many great applications vs good applications can you complete? How sure do you want to be that you put your best effort into your “reach” school application? Have you completed a thorough review of all of the schools to which you feel you must apply so you can be absolutely sure that this school meets your educational needs and career aspirations? Now……to how many school will YOU apply?

kati swansonCounselorTMCC HS

Limit your college applications to 5

Once the application phase of the college admissions process has started students should have already completed their research of prospective colleges. Students should have narrowed their college choices down to their first choice school plus several second choices and a safety school. A safety school is the school to which a student is confident of being admitted. Applying to many schools without thoroughly researching them will not help a student decide on the best college fit.

ravi balaIndependent8thSquare.org

How many schools should I apply to?

4 safety, 4 target and 2 reach. A few years ago, my answer would have said 2 safety, 6 target and 2 reach but with finances becoming a bigger factor in the decision process, I think that safety schools offer a better chance for larger financial aid. The numbers above can vary by one or two because the student absolutely loves one school and feels like they have to take a shot at it. In any case, just know that whatever school you pick, you will be happy if you choose to open yourself up to new experiences. Good luck and fun times! RaviB

Aviva Walls

It’s not how many that really matters

Rather than simply state a number, it’s better to start with two ideas. 1. Apply to colleges across a range of selectivity. Go for your dreams! Apply to those reach schools (at least a few), but also be sure to have colleges which fit your college search criteria, but are less selective and will be more likely to offer you admission. In general, I think students should have 2-3 “reach schools” (schools for which your chances of admission are less than 50%), 3-4 schools which are “good fit” or “target” or “50/50” (the admissions decision could go either way, you are right in the middle of their score and gpa averages) and 2-3 schools that you would feel fairly confident will offer you admission (you have greater than a 50% change of admission). 2. Don’t apply to any college you wouldn’t want to attend. This is a simple idea, but a crucial concept. Don’t waste the money, time and resources applying to colleges you wouldn’t be happy going to. Yes, it’s important to have a diversity of schools on your college list, but if you don’t want to go there, than that doesn’t help anyone, does it? In that vein, in this process, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. There are lots of great colleges in this country – some of them are very selective and others offer “admissions bargains.” Keep your mind open to the possibilities. Just because a college is likely to offer you a spot doesn’t mean they are a bad school or offer poorer quality education. Keep your eyes peeled for those bargains – they are out there!

Aviva Walls

It’s not how many that really matters

Rather than simply state a number, it’s better to start with two ideas. 1. Apply to colleges across a range of selectivity. Go for your dreams! Apply to those reach schools (at least a few), but also be sure to have colleges which fit your college search criteria, but are less selective and will be more likely to offer you admission. In general, I think students should have 2-3 “reach schools” (schools for which your chances of admission are less than 50%), 3-4 schools which are “good fit” or “target” or “50/50” (the admissions decision could go either way, you are right in the middle of their score and gpa averages) and 2-3 schools that you would feel fairly confident will offer you admission (you have greater than a 50% change of admission). 2. Don’t apply to any college you wouldn’t want to attend. This is a simple idea, but a crucial concept. Don’t waste the money, time and resources applying to colleges you wouldn’t be happy going to. Yes, it’s important to have a diversity of schools on your college list, but if you don’t want to go there, than that doesn’t help anyone, does it? In that vein, in this process, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. There are lots of great colleges in this country – some of them are very selective and others offer “admissions bargains.” Keep your mind open to the possibilities. Just because a college is likely to offer you a spot doesn’t mean they are a bad school or offer poorer quality education. Keep your eyes peeled for those bargains – they are out there!

Lin Johnson III

Huh, you mean I shouldn’t apply to all of them!

When students and parents ask this question, it usually indicates that they are attempting to play the number game: if I apply to more college, then I will increase my chance of being accepted to at least one college. However, this line of thinking should be referred to as the “diversification trap”. First, the more colleges you have to research, write essays, complete essays, and prep for interviews, the less time you have to do each well, which actually decreases your chance of being accepted. Second, more importantly, this is simply the wrong number game. The real number game in the admission process is applying early decision or early action to college. Let me elaborate on the second point. If you want to improve the possibility of being accepted to college, your chance increases exponentially when you apply early decision or early action. To do so, you must be so committed to your first choice that you would gladly reject the others if accepted. This is not the case for non-restrictive early action, which allows more flexibility. Hence, here is a basic admission strategy: Apply to 1 college for early decision/restrictive early action round; Apply to 1-2 college(s) for non-restrictive early action rounds; and Apply to 3-4 colleges for regular admission round. If your early decision application gets accepted, excellent! You are done! If your early decision application is unsuccessful, but one of your non-restrictive early action application is accepted, you can stop or you can apply to more schools in the regular admission round. Last, if the early admission rounds do not fare well for you, you can conquer the regular admission round. In my opinion, about 4-7 college applications should be sufficient without overwhelming yourself.

Lin Johnson III

Huh, you mean I shouldn’t apply to all of them!

When students and parents ask this question, it usually indicates that they are attempting to play the number game: if I apply to more college, then I will increase my chance of being accepted to at least one college. However, this line of thinking should be referred to as the “diversification trap”. First, the more colleges you have to research, write essays, complete essays, and prep for interviews, the less time you have to do each well, which actually decreases your chance of being accepted. Second, more importantly, this is simply the wrong number game. The real number game in the admission process is applying early decision or early action to college. Let me elaborate on the second point. If you want to improve the possibility of being accepted to college, your chance increases exponentially when you apply early decision or early action. To do so, you must be so committed to your first choice that you would gladly reject the others if accepted. This is not the case for non-restrictive early action, which allows more flexibility. Hence, here is a basic admission strategy: Apply to 1 college for early decision/restrictive early action round; Apply to 1-2 college(s) for non-restrictive early action rounds; and Apply to 3-4 colleges for regular admission round. If your early decision application gets accepted, excellent! You are done! If your early decision application is unsuccessful, but one of your non-restrictive early action application is accepted, you can stop or you can apply to more schools in the regular admission round. Last, if the early admission rounds do not fare well for you, you can conquer the regular admission round. In my opinion, about 4-7 college applications should be sufficient without overwhelming yourself.

Lin Johnson III

Huh, you mean I shouldn’t apply to all of them!

When students and parents ask this question, it usually indicates that they are attempting to play the number game: if I apply to more college, then I will increase my chance of being accepted to at least one college. However, this line of thinking should be referred to as the “diversification trap”. First, the more colleges you have to research, write essays, complete essays, and prep for interviews, the less time you have to do each well, which actually decreases your chance of being accepted. Second, more importantly, this is simply the wrong number game. The real number game in the admission process is applying early decision or early action to college. Let me elaborate on the second point. If you want to improve the possibility of being accepted to college, your chance increases exponentially when you apply early decision or early action. To do so, you must be so committed to your first choice that you would gladly reject the others if accepted. This is not the case for non-restrictive early action, which allows more flexibility. Hence, here is a basic admission strategy: Apply to 1 college for early decision/restrictive early action round; Apply to 1-2 college(s) for non-restrictive early action rounds; and Apply to 3-4 colleges for regular admission round. If your early decision application gets accepted, excellent! You are done! If your early decision application is unsuccessful, but one of your non-restrictive early action application is accepted, you can stop or you can apply to more schools in the regular admission round. Last, if the early admission rounds do not fare well for you, you can conquer the regular admission round. In my opinion, about 4-7 college applications should be sufficient without overwhelming yourself.

Lin Johnson III

Huh, you mean I shouldn’t apply to all of them!

When students and parents ask this question, it usually indicates that they are attempting to play the number game: if I apply to more college, then I will increase my chance of being accepted to at least one college. However, this line of thinking should be referred to as the “diversification trap”. First, the more colleges you have to research, write essays, complete essays, and prep for interviews, the less time you have to do each well, which actually decreases your chance of being accepted. Second, more importantly, this is simply the wrong number game. The real number game in the admission process is applying early decision or early action to college. Let me elaborate on the second point. If you want to improve the possibility of being accepted to college, your chance increases exponentially when you apply early decision or early action. To do so, you must be so committed to your first choice that you would gladly reject the others if accepted. This is not the case for non-restrictive early action, which allows more flexibility. Hence, here is a basic admission strategy: Apply to 1 college for early decision/restrictive early action round; Apply to 1-2 college(s) for non-restrictive early action rounds; and Apply to 3-4 colleges for regular admission round. If your early decision application gets accepted, excellent! You are done! If your early decision application is unsuccessful, but one of your non-restrictive early action application is accepted, you can stop or you can apply to more schools in the regular admission round. Last, if the early admission rounds do not fare well for you, you can conquer the regular admission round. In my opinion, about 4-7 college applications should be sufficient without overwhelming yourself.

James LundgrenPartnerCollege Planning Solutions

One school or twenty?

What is the right number of colleges to apply to. I usually try to put myself in the shoes of the recipient. I believe that too many schools show a lack of focus and too few show that a choice has already been made. The important thing to focus on is quality over quantity. Be sure that each and every college on your list will serve your career path successfully. Eventually, when you submit the FAFSA, everyone will know who their competition is. Use this knowledge to your benefit and build a competitive list of college choices.

Christine PetermanCollege AdvisorPrep 4 Admission

How many school should students typically apply to?

I would recommend students apply to 8 to 10 schools on average. I recommend a balanced number of safety, target and reach schools.To explain further, safety schools are schools where your academic record and standardized test scores are well above the minimum requirements for admissions. Schools you are somewhat overqualified, where you will almost certainly gain admission. Target schools are schools you will have reasonable chance to gain admission, typically a better than 50/50 chance to gain admission. Your reach schools would be schools where you fall below the average freshmen profile, usually your top choice colleges, and those most difficult to get into.

Archana Sudame

How many schools should I apply to?

I would say 2-Reach, 4 to 6 Target and 2-Safety. Always have a balanced list. 8 to 12 total. Some of these could be public and others could be private.

Michelle AronoffGuidance Counselor

Less than 10

Typically I tell students not to apply to more than 10 schools. Applying to 7 or 8 is perfect. When you apply to a high number of schools it gets to be a big expense as far as application fees. It also makes the decision much more difficult when you are deciding which college to attend. When you do your college research, know what you are looking for in a school and what you think will make it the right fit for YOU. If a school doesn’t meet your criteria, don’t apply. Also, many students get an influx of emails from colleges offering them free applications. Do not feel pressured to apply to these schools just because they are free. If they don’t have what you are looking for move on.

Joseph FreemanDean and College CounselorRandolph School

List size

How many schools you should apply to very much depends on the nature of your college search. As a general rule, work to hone your college list to between six and eight schools. You want your list to have balance–a mixture of reaches, targets, and likelies–but EVERY college on the list must be one that you want to attend. Applying to a school that you have no real interest in attending not only wastes your time and money but also takes an admissions offer away from someone who might have that school as his or her first choice. Applying to more than ten schools is generally unwise, particularly if your list is “reach-heavy.” You need to have a high threshold for rejection in that case. At the same time, focusing too narrowly on only one or two choices will leave you with limited options at the end of the process, particularly if college cost is an issue. That said, students who can identify a clear first choice should take advantage of Early Decision options, and students who are interested in a university with rolling admissions should get an application in as early as they can. Finishing the application process early in the senior year can be beneficial for the right student.

Kathryn FavaroCollege admissions consultantCalifornia College Prep

I advise most students apply to 5-15 schools

It is important to create a balanced college list representing safeties, targets, and reaches. To know how you stack up for each school, check out last year’s average admitted student data and compare your numbers.

Mitch ClarkExecutive DirectorCollege Sherpa

Narrow Your List

How a student determines their list of colleges can vary from a very straightforward list of two or three schools to a more complex list of target, reach and safety schools. The concept of target, reach and safety schools requires much time and effort both in researching the schools to find a good fit in each category as well as completing multiple applications. A target school is one where you are in the middle to top of the freshman profile and have a good chance of admission. A reach school is one where you are on the lower side of the profile, but may have a chance of being admitted. If you exceed the freshman profile, that school is a safety and you will almost certainly be admitted. Applying to at least two schools in each of these categories should give students a favorable number of acceptances and financial aid awards to choose from in the spring.

Helen Cella

How many schools should I apply to?

6-7

Shannon BradyAcademic & College CounselorBrady College Counseling

Creating your college list

It is a good idea to have a range of selectivity in creating your college list. I advise students to have anywhere from 4-8 colleges on their list. 2-3 colleges in 3 categories: reach, match, and good bet. A reach school is where the incoming freshman profile is slightly above your own. A match school is where the incoming freshman profile is in line with your profile. Lastly, a good bet school is where the incoming freshman profile is slightly below your own. Often times a good bet school is where merit scholarship money can be found.

Jennifer CounselorMilpitas High School

If I were applying to a four year college or university

I would pick 6 to 10 schools.

Don Tamminga

How many schools should I apply to?

That depends…generally the less sure you are of what you want to do and where you want to go, the more schools you should apply to. I encourage students to create a list of a couple of reach colleges which they may or may not be accepted into, four target colleges which they would be happy to go to and would meet their needs and they likely would be accepted to and the a coouple colleges as a back up plan whcih they know they can get into if all else fails.

Robin Farris

Safety, Good Chance or reach….How many should a student apply to?

I typically ask students to apply to three reach, three good chance and two to three safety schools, one of which should be a financial, just in case their financial aid package doesn’t meet their needs

Leigh Spence

Not 31!

I recommend that students not apply to more than 10 colleges at the very most and three to five is a very manageable number. I always suggest applying to a safety school (one the student knows he/she can get in), a reach school (one that he/she is uncertain they can get in) and a dream school (the “if-all-the-planets-are-in-alignment” school.) I once had a student apply to 31 colleges and that was WAY too many!

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

There is no right number–except for what is right for you

There is no definitive right number of schools to which a student should apply. For some it is love at first sight, followed by an early decision application, acceptance, and ultimately attendance. For others there may be great indecision or financial factors may preclude an early decision application and they must wait until they know all their options. What is important is to give yourself a range of options and that you view the application process realistically. The difference in selectivity is wide ranging and you need to be sure that you have a “safety school”—a place that given your record will admit you, but one that still satisfies your criteria as to program, geography, cost, college experience, size, whatever it is that is driving your individual decision making. Don’t sell yourself short, but be honest about where you fit in oftentimes competitive process.

Connie DeckerOwnerConnie Decker & Associates

How many schools should I apply to?

Students are applying to more schools in recent years because of the relative ease of doing applications online. Of course, you must pay the application fee for each college, and this can mount up. Applying for more than 8 institutions doesn’t serve you well; it will only make a college’s admissions statistics appear more selective. If you have done your research before the application season begins, and better yet, if you have had an opportunity to visit colleges, then applying to 5-8 schools is a good number. You should have 3 kinds of colleges THAT YOU LIKE on your list: The “reach” schools or “dream” schools, the “competitive” schools–where your scores and grades are commensurate with those students who were admitted, and the “sure” campuses–usually those that are formula-driven. If you have the GPA and test scores, you will be admitted.

Symionne Quarles

How many school should you apply to?

I good number is five. You always want to include your reach and safety school. This number is manageable and will probably include the variety a student seeks.

Nicholas Umphrey

How many schools should I apply to?

Usually I suggest a minimum of three. Each school should be categorized as either a Reach, Probable, or Safety school. There are usually two factors I look at in determining this: a school’s acceptance rate and their average standardized test scores. A REACH school is a school that accepts a low percentage of applicants, and has an average standardized test score at or above yours. A PROBABLE school is a one that you are very likely to be accepted into based on your test scores and their acceptance rate bring from 40%-70% (varying depending on individual cases). A SAFETY school is often a school accepting 70% or above and having average test scores average to low average. Some safety schools may not require SAT’s. Many four year colleges with high acceptance rates, 2 year colleges, junior colleges and community colleges fit into this category

Heather McCowenPost Secondary CounselorThe Chicago HS for the Arts

How many schools should a student apply to?

Between 7-10. The student should apply to enough schools to have several options to choose from to make sure the fit is there both academically and financially. Too many schools and the student’s application quality will decline, too few and the student may not have choices about where to go to school.

Alex Restrepo

Giving Yourself the Right Options

Whether you’re totally determined to go into the math of sciences or not at all sure what you’d be interested in majoring in, it is important to give yourself a range of different types of schools when you’re applying to. Normally as a rule, I’d say apply to no more than 10. Within those have a mix of colleges and universities from around the country and of different types. By types I mean, large state universities in cities to small liberal arts colleges in rural environments. If you are not sure what you want to do, apply to more liberal arts colleges, as you often don’t have to declare your major until later on. Even if you are dead set on becoming an engineer or a doctor, still apply to small liberal arts colleges because many have several research opportunities available to students much earlier on than larger universities (since you’re not competing with graduate students for those spots)

Woodrow DunnAcademic CounselorFreedom High School

How many schools should I apply to?

Before applying I would investigate to determine what schools would be a good fit. You would not apply to an Ivy League school unless you had extremely good grades and good SAT/ACT scores.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

It’s quality, not quantity.

Everyone’s college list will differ in number. It depends on how competitive your list is. I have the following categories-reaching for stars (all Ivies and then colleges at and above your record), stretch (still challenging), 50-50, and likely. If you have many reaching for the stars colleges, then your list will be longer because you need to balance it out. If you are someone with a mixed record (with one weaker area), you need a larger list as well. Other kids just have a few schools because their academic interests are so focused, they know where to go. Having a long list also means much more work with applications but the work now is worth having great choices. later.

Allen HillSchool CounselorAntelope Union High School

Applications for Schools

You should apply to every school that meets your criteria, such as degree field available, size of school, location of school, and social elements. Do not limit yourself to one or two schools that fit your requirements, seek out all the schools that fit.

Samantha Pieper

The number of schools to apply to

I recommend applying to anywhere from four to seven universities. If you apply to too many, you may not be turning in quality applications, and you may not have any genuine interest in those schools! Apply to schools you have visited or plan to visit and that you would seriously consider attending. Make sure you apply to at least one safety school that you would be happy to attend, i.e. a school you know 100% will accept you. Then, apply to a couple of schools you are fairly sure will accept that you also have an interest in attending, and finally, apply to one school that is a reach, a school that has higher admissions standards but you still have a chance of getting in. Best of luck!

MONIQUE BATES

2 Reach, 2 Match, & 2 Safety Schools

I always encourage student to apply to 2 Reach School (schools that would be a “dream” school but either financially or academicially or both are just out of the student’s reach), 2 Match schools (schools which meet the student’s needs financially and academically), and 2 Safety schools (schools which are just below the student’s financial and academic needs). This is a good way to know that the student has a strong “spread” of schools without breaking the bank on college application fees.

Elisa BennettDirector & Independent College CounselorAccess 2 Admission

The Number of Applications a Student Should Submit

I often suggest that students should consider applying to a minimum of 5 schools. One of those schools should be a “safety school”. Acceptance is almost 100% expected based on the students profile for safety schools.. One school could be a “stretch” school, meaning that the student may really have to work to get accepted. The rest of the five should be the schools in the middle that the student would likely be accepted to, but not necessarily guaranteed. * Financial Needs should also be considered when students are categorizing their school applications. In addition, students that are interested in Historically Black Colleges and Universities may consider applying to 35 schools at once by completing one application, one essay, and paying one $35 application fee at www.eduinconline.com

Jolyn BrandOwner/DirectorBrand College Consulting

Between 3 and 8 colleges is usually best

Students should aim for at least one safety school, meaning a college that they are sure they can get accepted to. These are usually local community colleges. Students should also select 1-3 ‘match’ colleges. These are colleges where the student’s academic record matches those of the admitted freshmen class. Stats such as SAT scores and GPA can be compared. Students can also apply to 1 or 2 “reach” colleges. These are the ideal or dream schools that have a very low acceptace rate.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

The Magic Number of College Applications

There is no such thing as a magic number when it comes to applying to schools. It is important to make sure that you are being realistic with your list. Offers of admission should not be viewed as badges of honor/collector worthy. Unfortunately, the Common Application has made it all too easy to hit submit, driving up the number of apps each school must process. If you haven’t put all of your eggs in one basket, if you’ve done your research and figured out good fit schools, 6-8 apps should be sufficient. If you’re having trouble eliminating options before you’re accepted, I don’t think it will be any easier later. Save the application fees for future college costs and focus on putting together the strongest application you can.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

The Magic Number of College Applications

There is no such thing as a magic number when it comes to applying to schools. It is important to make sure that you are being realistic with your list. Offers of admission should not be viewed as badges of honor/collector worthy. Unfortunately, the Common Application has made it all too easy to hit submit, driving up the number of apps each school must process. If you haven’t put all of your eggs in one basket, if you’ve done your research and figured out good fit schools, 6-8 apps should be sufficient. If you’re having trouble eliminating options before you’re accepted, I don’t think it will be any easier later. Save the application fees for future college costs and focus on putting together the strongest application you can.

Ruth Fraser

Number of Universities to Apply to

Among several factors that are important in selecting the right university are finding ones that will be the “right fit”. This means actually reading about the programs the university offers, as well as the degree specialties. Other things like location, size and quality of the teaching (professors versus teaching assistants), co-op offerings and class size should also be considered. Ensuring that your SAT scores are “in the range” for universities you are applying to is also important. Students should have a variety of schools in their basket – some that are reach; some that are a good match and some that are”for sure”.

Donovan BlakeLead ConsultantGriffin Blake Educational Consulting

IEP Students

I, as an Educational Consultant, recommend that my special needs students pick no more than 5 schools. With the assistance of the family we can narrow it doen to 3. We only apply to the 3 schools that are on our list. My students always get into there first or second choice. Using an Educational Consultant allows the students to pick schools that best support their needs and it saves the parent money in application fees.

Susan HanflikEducational ConsultantSusan Hanflik and Associates

How many Is the right number?

There is no magic number that will ensure you get accepted into college. I think the best rule of thumb is to make sure you apply to a range of schools: schools where you are in the higher range of applicants, schools where you are in the mid-range, and reach schools. Many students get drawn into applying to many, many schools with the idea that it increases their odds of acceptance. Some students also think that they will apply and then make decisions about schools. That is a tremendous waste of time doing applications and money. Make some well thought-out decisions and go with them.

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How many schools should I apply to?

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Judge MasonJudge Mason Educational ConsultantJMEC

The Rule Which May Be Broken

As a rule, I recommend two reaches, 3-4 reasonables and 2 sures.

Marcia Kramer

How many schools should I apply to?

seven

Dr. SkarlisOwner/PresidentThe College Advisor of New York

Number of schools you should apply to

You should apply to between seven and nine schools.

Mark GathercoleUniversity AdvisorIndependent University Advising

How many schools should I apply to?

If you know what you want and do your research well, 6-10 should do it. Avoid the “shotgun” approach of thinking that the more Reach schools you apply to, the better your chances of getting in – a 10% acceptance rate gives you the same chance whether you apply to one or five of them. Find schools that fit you well and apply to some Targets and Likely entries, too. And don’t just apply to any Likely school – make sure it is a school where you think you could be happy. Spread your list out and you will have a happy choice in April of several schools who want you, instead of hoping you “might maybe” get in to one!

Jacqueline MurphyDirector of AdmissionsSaint Michael’s College

Be reasonable

Applying to colleges is time consuming and can be costly. Do your research beforehand and apply only to those schools that seem reasonable in terms of your chances for admission and are good matches for you in terms of academics, campus life and location. Of course the big question is final cost…which can be difficult to determine in the beginning, but be sure to use the net price calculators to get a sense of what you may qualify for in terms of aid. I have seen students apply to as many as 20 schools and others a few as one. The correct answer is certainly somewhere in between. Eight to ten seem reasonable. Remember-you can only attend one

Sue Moore

Two to six applications

I usually recommend students apply to no more than 6 schools. If you have more than six schools on your list, you need to do your research to narrow your selection field before you start sending out applications. Your list of schools should include a range – from ones for which acceptance will be a stretch to those at which you feel you have a good chance of acceptance. I also suggest a minimum of two schools – although if students are applying to two in-state schools I like to challenge them to find an out-of-state school that looks like it will be a good fit. Above all, take time to do your research about the schools that seem interesting. Use the internet resources available, and visit them in person.

CollegeCounselor McSellerson

How many schools should I apply to?

not too many

Chip LawCo-founder Managing Director Educational Avenues

Ah! What IS the magic number?

While there is no specific number of schools that a student should actually apply to, there are some ways to get a good feel for what you should do: 1. In your junior year develop a large list of schools that appeal to you. You should do this based upon what YOU want from a school-size, location, specific major, social life,extracurricular activities that match your interests, affordability etc. 2. Over the year do your due diligence on each school-are you a student that fits the school’s academic profile? You must be realistic and take a hard look at your performance in terms of their applicant pool statistics-GPA, standardized scores, rank, etc. You should then hone the list down to no more than twelve schools. 3. Of the 12 schools, make sure that you find a range of schools that fit your criteria that: -you are likely to get into, -you have a possibility to get in to, -are a reach for you -may be one that’s long-shot. 4. If possible visit the top schools on your list. Use all available resources to more intensely research each school to validate your point of view on the school. 4. Using this methodology you should consider application to six to eight schools max. and you will have covered all the bases for a match and a probability for acceptance that should make you comfortable with your choices Perhaps most important of all is to make sure that ALL of the schools on your application list are ones that you would REALLY like to attend!.

Jamie Reich

How many schools should I apply to?

It has been my experience that applying to 10 schools works best. I like my students to apply to three safety schools, four targets and three reaches.

Natalie Ortiz

How many schools should I apply to?

I would recommend that a student apply to 4-6 schools. It is okay to apply to a “Dream School”, but you also want to make sure that you are applying to schools which are a “Good Match”. I would also recommend that you apply to a school which you can consider as a “Safe School”. By applying to 4-6 schools and considering this format, you are helping to create the best options for yourself.

Mollie ReznickAssociate DirectorThe College Connection

Quality is more important than quantity

The key aspect of creating a college list is not the “magic number” of schools to apply to, but rather that you have a well-balanced list that is appropriate for your academic abilities. I tend to recommend that my students apply to 10 to 12 schools, but this list should comprise mostly schools that would be viewed as “targets” (i.e. the student’s test scores and GPA fall within the median for that school). From there, students should have at least 2 or 3 “safety” schools (where their stats are above the mid-range) where they would actually be happy attending, and as many “reach” schools as they want (though 2 to 4 is more than enough.) Ultimately, you want to ensure you have *enough* choices, but not *too* many.

David AllenManaging DirectorGlobal College Counselors Ltd

Too many or not enough

I’d say a good number is about 10 – any more and you have to ask yourself, would you really want to go to all of them, too few and you may not have enough of a spread. It would be wise to have no more than 3 ‘reach’ schools, 5 or so ‘good bets’ and 2 or 3 insurance choices. Remember, it all costs money and will take up time you could be spending improving your grades!

Corey FischerPresidentCollegeClarity

That depends on how well-rounded your list is.

You need to look closely at your profile (types of classes, grades, testing, activities, etc.) and if your profile is a fairly even match for at least 2 colleges on your list, and is much stronger than at least two colleges on your list, you should be set. Then you can apply to as many other colleges as you want. Remember, it is always important to always view each college on your list as a place you would be happy to attend. Do not apply thinking you will never go because that defeats the purpose of having them on your list in the first place. If you are open mined and do your research well you will find 6-10 colleges that will match you well (a good counselor can help with this).

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

Two or Two Dozen?

When embarking on your college search process it’s important to remember that applying to more schools does not necessarily increase your likelihood of admission or options. What students SHOULD do is take the time to narrow down their initial “long list” to a list of schools that are the best fit and THEN apply to those. I generally recommend that students apply to 5-7 schools. This isn’t to say that occasionally one of my students applies to 10-12…however, they often realize that the amount of extra work writing essays and completing supplements could have been avoided if they had taken more time to narrow their options to a more manageable list.

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

Two or Two Dozen?

When embarking on your college search process it’s important to remember that applying to more schools does not necessarily increase your likelihood of admission or options. What students SHOULD do is take the time to narrow down their initial “long list” to a list of schools that are the best fit and THEN apply to those. I generally recommend that students apply to 5-7 schools. This isn’t to say that occasionally one of my students applies to 10-12…however, they often realize that the amount of extra work writing essays and completing supplements could have been avoided if they had taken more time to narrow their options to a more manageable list.

Sally Mehaffey

How many schools should I apply to?

There is no magic number of schools to which to apply. Generally speaking 8-10 colleges would be a reasonable number. If a student has done his/her “due diligence” as far as assessing his/her strengths as an applicant, identified schools that best match the his/her interests, needs, personality, financial concerns and admissions profile, then 8-10 schools will most likely suffice. There are always exceptions, such as a potential BFA in Musical Theatre. As this is such an extremely competitive course of study, it would make sense to expand the number of colleges to make certain that every opportunity to be admitted is availed by the student.

Glenda DuranoOwnerCollege Advising and Planning Services

How many schools should I apply to?

I usually recommend that a student apply to between 7 and 10 schools, but, just as we cannot put students “in a box,” neither can we put the application process “in a box.” Students should never apply to a school “just because he wants to see if he will get in” or because “someone told you it is a great school.” Simply because a school has an excellent program in your course of study doesn’t mean that the school is a great fit. There are many factors to consider when determining which schools to apply to including size, location, programs, facilities, opportunities, academic/social balance, etc. Every school to which a student applies should meet the student’s academic, social, and financial needs. A student should be delighted to be accepted to any of the schools to which he applies. Many times a student doesn’t have the time or the resources to determine that, in which case, he should reach out to a consultant.

Lesley Colognesi

How many schools should I apply to?

There are over 3,000 school in the U.S .and students have the ability to be selective in the process. I suggest narrowing your list o 8-12 schools.

Nicole OringerPartnerIvy Educational Services

generally between 7 and 10

It’s best if you can naorrow down your choices so that you can really focus on each individual application and get to know each college that you are conidering. It can be very overwhelming to apply to too many colleges. Find a couple of ballpark, reach and safer choices and get to know these colleges!

Kimberly

At least 5

I advised students to apply to at least 5 colleges. We go over the student’s class rank, GPA, high school curriculum (AP/IB/Honors/Dual Credit), resume and ACT/SAT scores. I advise them to apply to 2/3 scores that match their profile and then 2 of their hope (reach) schools. I advise students to then look at what type of financial packages they are offered before they make their decision.

Mark CorkeryHead College CounselorInternational College Admissions Network (I-CAN)

There is no set number…usually between 10-12 in today’s competitive college admission process

I usually recommend applying to 3-5 reach schools (reachable, but unpredictable whether you can get in or not) 2-3 midranges (about a 50/50 chance of being admitted, and 1-2 safeties (if you don’t get in, there was a problem with your application and time to call that college’s admission office to find out what happened. All the colleges on your llst should be considered the best options based on your research, visits, and thorough review of the college’s profiles on Unigo. Just because a school has name recognition does not mean it is the best choice for you. Maybe Harvard would be a good choice but UCLA would be a better choice in terms of the types of students who attend, location, etc, etc. The rule of thumb is that just because you have never heard of a school doesn’t mean it isn’t good, it just means you have never heard of it. When research is done on whether a school warrants an application or not, best to also look at the admissions rates to see where you fall on the history of the grades, scores, and amount of extracurricular activities most students are involved in who do get admitted. In my mind, however, in this admission “game,” it is best to reach for the star colleges but also have some contingencies on your list, just in case. I tend to go against what most advisors suggest in terms of the breakdown of reaches, mids, and safeties. My strategy with all students with whom I work is that to high end the list is a good thing; it helps your chances of getting in to more schools that way — especially if your admittance is unpredictable. And, you only need one to two back up schools because it is a given that if you apply, you will get in. So, worst case scenario, you go to one of the back up schools. But, indeed, this is not a choice where you hold your nose and go into depression! Your research would have shown you that it wouldnt be a bad option. If the final choice college is not optimal, there is always the possibility of applying once again to your top choice schools, gaining admission perhaps for the sophomore or junior year.

Melissa GolliharCounselor

How many schools should a student apply to?

Students should have at least one “dream” school that they apply to, even if the student is not sure that they meet all the school’s requirements. A student should also apply to at least a couple of additional schools that they are pretty confident they meet the basic entry requirements. It is important to have some back up options!

Evelyn M.A.PresidentMagellan College Counseling

Fit is more important than quantity.

Instead of thinking about the number of colleges on your list, think more about whether or not each college is a good fit for you. Don’t apply to any colleges you haven’t researched and can answer yes to all of these questions: + Does this college have the major I think I want to pursue? + Is this college in a part of the country in which I would like to live for four or more years? + Does this college have at least some of the extra-curricular activities I would like to continue to pursue as I further my academic career? + Have I read blogs by or communicated in some way with students at this college, so that I have a good feel for the kind of students who attend this college, and I’m comfortable that I will fit in? + Do I have an understanding of what kind of learning is emphasized at this college (ie project-based, individual learning, Socratic/discussion-based learning)? + Have I determined if this school is a safety, match or reach school for me? + If this college is the ONLY college to which I am accepted, will I be happy to enroll there? You could end up applying to 6 colleges (I did), or 15 colleges. You should have a balance of a few reach schools (your scores are within the range of their admitted pool for last year, but not at the top), a few match schools (your scores are at or near the top of their admitted range), and a few safety schools (very likely you will be admitted). You should WANT to go to any of the schools on your list, and most important, you should believe, based on your investigation and research, that you will fit in and succeed at each college on your list.

Rebecca GrappoFounder and presidentRNG International Educational Consultants, LLC

10 Most Important Things To Look For In The Campus Visit

For families that live abroad, it is very difficult to visit all of the boarding schools or colleges/ universities that a student might be interested in unless they have a magic carpet, or unlimited time and funds.

However, I would argue that a campus visit might be even more important for the international student and the Third Culture Kid (TCK) who is returning to their passport country for future study, or going to a new country, especially if the student has never lived (or lived for very long) in the country of that school/college.

I should know, having visited over 100 campuses (mostly in the United States) this last year alone! Campus visits are the number one way that I learn what a school or college is really like. Though much information is available online, it is not the same as being there in person. However, that said, there is also much to be gained by doing a virtual visit. So, whether virtually or in person, here are my suggestions for the ten most important things to look for in the campus visit:

1. Setting. Where is the school in relationship to the world? This is especially important for students coming from abroad (namely international students, or TCKs returning to their passport country). Such things as access to a major airport, rural or urban settings, and surrounding neighborhoods tend to be significant factors in how well the student will adjust. Campus safety is also extremely important, so I encourage you to learn what kind of neighborhood it is in and what the student will pass through to get to and from campus. One excellent website devoted to American college/university campus safety is http://ope.ed.gov/security/.

2. Campus Atmosphere. What does the campus “feel” like when you walk around? The best campus visits are made when students are present. What image do they project? Do they look happy and relaxed? Are they friendly? Stressed? Try using such websites as College Prowler or Unigo to find out more about what students have to say. Sometimes there is even a live camera on campus with Internet streaming.

3. What Students Have To Say. Try to talk to current students – either through chance encounters, a student panel, or the student tour guide. Through your conversations, you can usually get a lot of information about the student body and their values, activities, campus life and campus culture. Ask about how the students feel about their instructors, professors, projects, availability of classes, class size, advising, where to go for help, college or career guidance, study abroad programs, internships, other students, presence of other TCKs and international students on campus, the food, activities, weekends, what kind of student would be happiest there, who would not be happy there, what the “party scene” is like, what they like best, what they would change, and so on.

4. What Instructors/Professors And General Staff Have To Say. How do the staff talk about their work? Their students? Why do they love (or do not love) teaching/working there? How many adjunct/part-time faculty do they have? What is the teacher/professor turnover rate? What special programs do they offer? What are the strongest departments and why? What new initiatives are being undertaken on campus? What are the admissions team looking for in new student applications? How selective are they? What is their retention/graduation rate? Have they experienced any pain due to budget cuts? What is their waiting list like, if any?

5. How Residential Is The Campus? If it is a boarding school, ask how many students live on campus as boarders compared to the number of day students. If there are boarders, are they five-day boarders who go home on weekends, or full-term boarders who only go home for term breaks? If it is college, is it mostly residential or commuter students? Is it a “suitcase college” (where students go home on weekends)? If students live on campus, are they guaranteed housing for their full course duration? If not, what is the local housing market for students like? These questions are a huge factor in building campus culture and an idea about campus accessibility.

6. Scholarships And Financial Aid. This is very important for most of my client families, so if it is important to you too, be sure you understand what options the school has to make itself affordable. Check out the individual school/college websites to find more information on this.

7. Physical Plant And Facilities. I call this my “mulch test”. Are the grounds well-kept? Is enough maintenance being done? How does the campus look and feel? What are the buildings like? Dormitories? Food services? Recreational facilities? Athletic facilities? Studios for the arts? Library? Where do students do most of their studying? Campus Tours is an ever-growing site with virtual tours. You can also search the name of the university on YouTube for more online videos. These sites help, but again, it is not the same as assessing the situation in person.

8. Resources For Student Support. What kind of support is available for students with tutoring, writing and math centers, and more formalized support for kids with learning differences? Again, in the absence of a personal visit, explore the relevant college websites and learn as much as you can.

9. Understanding Of TCK And International Student Issues. Would your student coming from abroad, with a wealth of different experiences to share, feel welcome and valued on this campus? How strong is the institution’s commitment to helping international students adjust? What countries are the international students coming from? How are they recruited? This may be perhaps the hardest quality to quantify. Try searching the international student pages. Search the terms “Third Culture Kid” or “Global Nomad” by using the search box on the school’s website. Ask for statistics from the school/college, and if you visit, take note of what level of diversity (or lack thereof) you see on the actual campus itself.

10. What Is Important To The Student? The answer to this depends on the student, but each student has his/her own agenda, too.

Conclusion

There are many, many school, college and university options out there. In selecting a school/college, the campus visit can be an extremely important part of the decision-making process. By the end of the campus visit, you should have a good sense of the kind of student who would do well at that particular school/college/university.

Knowledge gained from the campus visit, combined with an understanding of the student’s learning style, academic and career interests, should all be factors in the final decision. After all, the biggest payoff will occur when the student finds the “right fit” and match where he/she will grow and thrive.

Then you will know that you all have made the right educational choice!

Tyler BurtonPresident Burton College Tours

Building a strategic list of schools.

There is no magic number of schools that a student should consider applying to. The first step in choosing your list of schools is to determine what elements a school needs to have to make it a good academic, social and financial fit for you. Once you determine these elements of fit it is time to build a list of schools. I like to counsel students on to have a range of schools that match a student’s chances of admission by categorizing schools into three categories; most likely, likely and least likely. A balanced list is the way to best determine how many schools a student will apply to. A balanced list is reasonable when the list contains no more than 13 schools. If a school list is top heavy with a number of least likely schools I will counsel a student to choose more wisely. The student is either picking schools with very low acceptance rates or has not spent enough time identifying aspects of fit.

Heather Case

A Perfect 10

I recommend that you apply to ten schools that are well-matched to your specific needs. If you apply to many more you risk looking indecisive, but if you apply to significantly fewer, you risk limiting your choices. Ideally your list should resemble a pyramid with one or two “reach” schools at the top, two to four “stretch” schools and in the middle and four to five well-matched schools at the base.

Hamilton GreggEducational ConsultantPrivate Practice

Fewer than 10

There is no way to throw tons of darts at a dart board. Focus your attention to 10 or less. Write great essays. Students who apply to more than 10 are spreading themselves to thin and cannot focus appropriately on the qualities each school is looking for in their applicants. I have yet heard of student, who having applied to more than 10, thought it was a good idea afterward. You can only attend one school. Target your list to 3 Reaches (appropriate reaches), 3 Core Schools and 3 Foundation schools. By the way, the average number over the years is around 6-7.

Katie JaneFounderPangaea Life

Number of schools on your college list

I always recommend applying to 5-10 schools. Usually, my target is 7. I hear a lot of students applying to 13+ colleges which is great if you have the time but more often than not, you don’t. I stand by the rule: QUALITY vs. quantity. It is always better to have 7 strong well-thought out college applications than 13 rushed ones. If the common application is available for all your schools, then you can apply to those 13 colleges (taking into consideration any supplemental information requested by a college) you were thinking but keep in mind the fees- college applications, test scores, dual enrollment transcripts, postage, and sometimes high school transcripts.

Stephanie Wassink

The answer is strategy specific

Many students choose to apply to 3 or 4 schools in their safety, target and reach categories. The safety, target and reach designations are largely based on a student’s GPA and standardized testing scores as compared to each of the prospective colleges to which he/she is applying. If a student has decided to apply primarily to reach schools, (s)he may decide to apply to 5 or even more schools in the reach category. Because the student’s chance of admittance to reach schools is lower, many students try to raise the odds by applying to more reaches.

Patricia AviezerPresidentInside Track To College, Inc.

How Many Is Too Many? “Colleges to Apply To, That Is”

Of course, this is an individual decision but remember that applications require work! Students who have done their homework have begun to formalize their list as juniors, starting with 25-30 colleges with similar characteristics. What are the differences between them? They range between colleges that are right on your “stats” (SAT/ACT, GPA and Rank) to colleges 10% below your stats and 15% above your stats. On average the final college list will be between six to eight schools.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Presidet/Partner, Global College Search Associates, LLC

Cost is everything these days, and the fact is there are many ways to achieve your dreams, and not all of them involve traditional, expensive colleges. The first advice students and parents should take is to stop thinking about the glamorous Ivies. They don’t want you, so don’t waste your hopes and money on the app fees. They want your application so they can appear more selective to the rankings publications. It may sound cool to your friends and classmates to say you are applying to an Ivy, but the fact is the Ivies know who they are accepting and it’s probably not you. But you don’t need them, because there are many institutions out there that will provide you with what you need, which is to achieve a degree that will prove to employers (investors? your community? grad schools? your future children?) throughout your life that you can think, write, analyze, calculate, and be an ethical, productive member of society. That said, be aware of the games institutions play with you and your emotions. College is big business, and it is you they are manipulating toward their own goals. That admissions counselor who is telling you yes to everything you ask? They have recruitment goals; to their college administration, you represent application numbers and tuition and room and board dollars; that is who counselors answer to, and they are protecting their jobs by telling you what you want to hear (and they’ve done enough research on you and your generation to know exactly what buzz words you will appreciate.) Take responsibility for your college choices, and — like any smart consumer — do some digging to discover if their “walk” reflects their “talk.” And if you need help doing that, find someone to talk to who knows admissions from the inside out. So go ahead and dream, but get realistic about how you will achieve your dreams. You should consider four types of college pathways (and honestly, any number of college application choices should be able to provide you with the same attributes I mention below): 1) Your dream school that offers your dream major — any country, any cost 2) A college that meets realistic expectations about costs and loan repayment over time (and that means possibly until well after you have your own children and are saving for their college and your retirement at the same time — not to mention potential lack of employment at various times.) 3) One with a solid liberal arts core. The most important and employment-transferable education over time is a liberal arts education. The truth is you will not succeed in any major or profession unless you know how to think critically and creatively, write well, and know how to work with figures. So if your high school academic record is not strong (and even if it is), the third type of college you should apply to is one that will provide you with strong academic support in core credits that will be transferable. Ideally, these credits should be be in the form of an Associate’s degree, because should you decide to begin your undergraduate studies at a cost-sensitive institution, many colleges will transfer-in the Associate’s degree as whole, which can reduce the cost of your education overall. This type of study can be taken at a traditional four-year college or your local community college. The amount of money you save by living at home (no matter how badly you want to get away) and attending two years of community college can save you and your parents from decades of unmanageable debt, not to mention the out of pocket costs of travel associated with attending a non-local college. The choice of a local college or community college shows financial intelligence and emotional maturity, so don’t be a snob. All employers out there will be seeing is where you got your degree from, not where you completed your first one or two years. 4) Your public state university; many students look down upon their state universities, but the fact is that most of these institutions offer an incredible education in many, many areas of study. Again, don’t be a snob. In short, apply to cost-sensitive colleges that will provide you with a solid liberal arts core. Save your big money for grad school and a specialization after you’ve been working for a few years. A Master’s degree is the bottom line now for long-term professional employment.

Kiersten MurphyExecutive Director and FounderMurphy College Consultants LLC

Keep it reasonable

I encourage students to apply to at least eight colleges, which should include a few ‘reach for the stars’ types as well as colleges where you are in the statistical average range. If a student tells me that they want to apply to more than 12 colleges, I feel as if they haven’t done their homework and haven’t really made enough of a connection to decide which are best fits.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

Balance Above Quantity

Students should apply to a balanced list of between 6-10 schools. Every student should apply to at least two foundation schools (strong likelihood of earning admission). Also, students should stretch themselves by applying to at least one realistic reach school (admission is possible, but not probable). Middle schools (chance of admission is about 50/50) help mitigate unexpected admission trends in either the reach or foundation categories. When a list is perfectly balanced, applying to just 3-4 schools is reasonable. Applying to more than 10-12 schools is a sign that the college search part of the admission process isn’t over. Narrowing schools after receipt of admission offers is becoming more common as financial concerns influence final enrollment decisions.

Dori MiddlebrookOwnerDori Middlebrook Educational Consulting

How many schools should I apply to?

I usually recommend 8-10 schools. When creating a school list a student should have a balance of schools in three different categories. “Likely” schools-schools where the student’s grades and test scores are above the averages for admitted students at that school last year. A student is “likely” to be accepted to these schools and often will receive merit aid if they choose to attend. I recommend 2-3 “likely” schools. “Target” schools-this category should have the highest number of schools in it. Target schools are schools where a student’s grades and test scores are right in the middle of admitted students. A student has a 50/50 chance of being admitted to a target school. A student schould apply to 4-6 target schools. “Reach” schools-schools where a student’s grades and test scores fall below the average number for admitted students. Acceptance to these schools is a reach and a student is less likely to be admitted. I tell students “you never know unless you try” but know that it will be highly competitive. I recommend 2 reach schools. Students should spend time researching schools and they should like their “likely” schools as much as they do their “reach” schools, they may end up with offers of admission from any of the schools. Remember the most important thing is selecting schools that are a good “fit”-consider size of school, location, majors, activities, housing, finances and much more to find the right school for you.

Wendie LubicCollege CounselorThe College Lady

Don’t over apply!

I limit the students I work with to 8-12 colleges maximum, with a preference for less than 10. Any more than that and the quality of each individual application goes down. Even if all your schools are on one application system, it still means keeping everything straight and answering school-specific questions. I prefer for student to “fall in love” with a small group of schools and focus their attention on making those applications stand out.

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How many schools should I apply to?

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Susan SykesPresidentSS Advisor

Tell me about your college search.

If you have made a careful self-analysis and have also reviewed colleges that fit the criteria you set for yourself, you may be able to apply to as few as three or four colleges. If you’re a person who isn’t sure what kind of environment you want or if you believe you can be happy just about anywhere, you probably will apply to more than this. A good guideline is to apply to one or two colleges you recognize are “reach” schools–you have only a15-20% chance of being admitted–and apply to a minimum of three schools where you have a good chance of being admitted. Then select between two and four schools where you have about a 50-50 chance of being admitted. This would result in between six and nine applications. One thing I would not advise is to apply to all the most-selective schools on the theory that you “might” get into one of them. Colleges read applications looking for “fit” and will know you haven’t done your homework!

Erin AveryCertified Educational PlannerAvery Educational Resources, LLC

Scattershot

In my offices, among the many knickknacks with which students can fiddle to alleviate the ubiquitous stress of the application process, I have a two-inch tall canister of Kent Velocity Buckshot. Contained in its clear outer coating the size of a lip stick lay at least one hundred tiny metal pellets. When loaded into a gun, this ammunition will spray its target, unlike a bullet that will focus on one point. The definition of scattershot: something that is broad but random and haphazard in its range To apply to more than 12 colleges is to begin to err on the side of “broad and random”. It is to cave to the exterior pressure and to abandon the initial plan of attack: to establish the best fit and match for each individual student. Focussing on Best Fit Decisions helps to narrow the 3000 four-year undergraduate colleges in the US to a dozen, both reach as well as likely acceptances, in a manageable cohesive list.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

Number of Applications

I advise my clients to apply to between 6 and 10 colleges. Although it is very tempting to apply to more schools than that, hoping to increase chances for admission, other factors should be taken into account. There are application fees involved with applying to most institutions and this can end up being an expensive proposition. But more importantly, students need to be able to focus their attention on creating their best possible applications, especially focusing on their essays or personal statements, and if too many schools are being applied to, this can be an overwhelming task. Students would be well advised to do their research carefully ahead of time, so that they can narrow down their application choices to a manageable number.

Patricia TamborelloCollege CounselorPlymouth Whitemarsh High School

More is Not Merrier

Some students panic and think it is necessary to apply to a dozen schools. I think it is better to carefully choose five or six colleges that you have researched very well and feel comfortable about your chances of admission to most of them. While an application is not a commitment to attend, it also isn’t something to take lightly. Before you make the decision to apply make sure you would be very happy at that college if admitted.

Steven CrispOwner Crisp College Advising

How many schools should I apply to?

The national average for the number of colleges that students apply to 7-10. But does that mean that 11 is too many and 6 is not enough, no. You have to keep in mind several factors when determining your list of colleges. First, you should always have a safety school on your list. A safety school is one in which your chances of getting in are very high. This assures that at the end of the summer you have somewhere to go if you are denied to your other options. Two, completing and application is not an easy task and can take hours of hard work to complete. Not to mention gathering recommendations, writing essays and sending test scores. For this reason you want to keep your list as small as possible. I would suggest applying to some in state schools as well as some out of state schools. Also, apply to the school in your state that has the best department for your major. For example, if you are looking to major in business, apply to the best business school in your area. For your initial list make it as big as it needs to be. Then narrow it by visiting, talking to admissions professionals and doing your research. When you are ready to apply I think 10 is the max. You have to also take into account that application fees can be expensive, you may not be able to afford to apply to as many schools as you want. When your deadlines roll around you should have a pretty good idea of which school you want to attend.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

Balance Above Quantity

Students should apply to a balanced list of between 6-10 schools. Every student should apply to at least two foundation schools (strong likelihood of earning admission). Also, students should stretch themselves by applying to at least one realistic reach school (admission is possible, but not probable). Middle schools (chance of admission is about 50/50) help mitigate unexpected admission trends in either the reach or foundation categories. When a list is perfectly balanced, applying to just 3-4 schools is reasonable. Applying to more than 10-12 schools is a sign that the college search part of the admission process isn’t over. Narrowing schools after receipt of admission offers is becoming more common as financial concerns influence final enrollment decisions.

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How many schools should I apply to?

10

Helese Sandler

How many schools should I apply to?

6-8

Helese Sandler

How many schools should I apply to?

6-8 to give you a good range of colleges.

Alan SheptinOwnerSheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

Alan Sheptin, Sheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

While there is no “hard and fast” rule, I usually suggest that students apply to between six and ten schools. If financial aid is an issue, I always recommend applying to one or two in-state colleges. For the other schools, I tell students to put together a long list of schools (20 or so), and then research them with respect to the following: 1. Have I visited? If so, can I see myself attending the school? 2. Does the school offer at least three academic areas in which I could be interested? 3. If I need financial aid, is the school need blind, or need aware? 4. Based on my academic “stats” (standardized test scores, weighted GPA), how would I look to the school? Namely, is the school a reach, reality, or likely admit school? 5. Does the school feel right to me? Size, student body, location, distance from home. After going through that analysis, the student should be able to cut 1/4 of the schools. Then, cut six or seven more, based on parental viewpoints, guidance counselor reactions, and gut feelings. Good Luck, Alan Sheptin

Laurie Nash

Number of applications to submit

I recommend that my students apply to approximately ten schools — a few reach schools, a few probable schools and a few safeties (although nothing is really a safety any more).

Jennifer Tabbush

Ideal number of schools to apply to: 9

2 reaches, 2 safety schools, and 5 schools that you have a good chance of getting into. It is always a good idea to research admissions statistics or use Naviance’s Scattergram feature (if your high school has it) to see how your grades and test scores compare to the average admit. Apply to schools that you think are a good match for you and that you really think you would go to if admitted.

Rebecca GrappoFounder and presidentRNG International Educational Consultants, LLC

10 Most Important Things To Look For In The Campus Visit

For families that live abroad, it is very difficult to visit all of the boarding schools or colleges/ universities that a student might be interested in unless they have a magic carpet, or unlimited time and funds.

However, I would argue that a campus visit might be even more important for the international student and the Third Culture Kid (TCK) who is returning to their passport country for future study, or going to a new country, especially if the student has never lived (or lived for very long) in the country of that school/college.

I should know, having visited over 100 campuses (mostly in the United States) this last year alone! Campus visits are the number one way that I learn what a school or college is really like. Though much information is available online, it is not the same as being there in person. However, that said, there is also much to be gained by doing a virtual visit. So, whether virtually or in person, here are my suggestions for the ten most important things to look for in the campus visit:

1. Setting. Where is the school in relationship to the world? This is especially important for students coming from abroad (namely international students, or TCKs returning to their passport country). Such things as access to a major airport, rural or urban settings, and surrounding neighborhoods tend to be significant factors in how well the student will adjust. Campus safety is also extremely important, so I encourage you to learn what kind of neighborhood it is in and what the student will pass through to get to and from campus. One excellent website devoted to American college/university campus safety is http://ope.ed.gov/security/.

2. Campus Atmosphere. What does the campus “feel” like when you walk around? The best campus visits are made when students are present. What image do they project? Do they look happy and relaxed? Are they friendly? Stressed? Try using such websites as College Prowler or Unigo to find out more about what students have to say. Sometimes there is even a live camera on campus with Internet streaming.

3. What Students Have To Say. Try to talk to current students – either through chance encounters, a student panel, or the student tour guide. Through your conversations, you can usually get a lot of information about the student body and their values, activities, campus life and campus culture. Ask about how the students feel about their instructors, professors, projects, availability of classes, class size, advising, where to go for help, college or career guidance, study abroad programs, internships, other students, presence of other TCKs and international students on campus, the food, activities, weekends, what kind of student would be happiest there, who would not be happy there, what the “party scene” is like, what they like best, what they would change, and so on.

4. What Instructors/Professors And General Staff Have To Say. How do the staff talk about their work? Their students? Why do they love (or do not love) teaching/working there? How many adjunct/part-time faculty do they have? What is the teacher/professor turnover rate? What special programs do they offer? What are the strongest departments and why? What new initiatives are being undertaken on campus? What are the admissions team looking for in new student applications? How selective are they? What is their retention/graduation rate? Have they experienced any pain due to budget cuts? What is their waiting list like, if any?

5. How Residential Is The Campus? If it is a boarding school, ask how many students live on campus as boarders compared to the number of day students. If there are boarders, are they five-day boarders who go home on weekends, or full-term boarders who only go home for term breaks? If it is college, is it mostly residential or commuter students? Is it a “suitcase college” (where students go home on weekends)? If students live on campus, are they guaranteed housing for their full course duration? If not, what is the local housing market for students like? These questions are a huge factor in building campus culture and an idea about campus accessibility.

6. Scholarships And Financial Aid. This is very important for most of my client families, so if it is important to you too, be sure you understand what options the school has to make itself affordable. Check out the individual school/college websites to find more information on this.

7. Physical Plant And Facilities. I call this my “mulch test”. Are the grounds well-kept? Is enough maintenance being done? How does the campus look and feel? What are the buildings like? Dormitories? Food services? Recreational facilities? Athletic facilities? Studios for the arts? Library? Where do students do most of their studying? Campus Tours is an ever-growing site with virtual tours. You can also search the name of the university on YouTube for more online videos. These sites help, but again, it is not the same as assessing the situation in person.

8. Resources For Student Support. What kind of support is available for students with tutoring, writing and math centers, and more formalized support for kids with learning differences? Again, in the absence of a personal visit, explore the relevant college websites and learn as much as you can.

9. Understanding Of TCK And International Student Issues. Would your student coming from abroad, with a wealth of different experiences to share, feel welcome and valued on this campus? How strong is the institution’s commitment to helping international students adjust? What countries are the international students coming from? How are they recruited? This may be perhaps the hardest quality to quantify. Try searching the international student pages. Search the terms “Third Culture Kid” or “Global Nomad” by using the search box on the school’s website. Ask for statistics from the school/college, and if you visit, take note of what level of diversity (or lack thereof) you see on the actual campus itself.

10. What Is Important To The Student? The answer to this depends on the student, but each student has his/her own agenda, too.

Conclusion There are many, many school, college and university options out there. In selecting a school/college, the campus visit can be an extremely important part of the decision-making process. By the end of the campus visit, you should have a good sense of the kind of student who would do well at that particular school/college/university.

Knowledge gained from the campus visit, combined with an understanding of the student’s learning style, academic and career interests, should all be factors in the final decision. After all, the biggest payoff will occur when the student finds the “right fit” and match where he/she will grow and thrive.

Then you will know that you all have made the right educational choice!

Lorraine Serra

It Depends…

So many of the questions related to college planning and applications have this same answer. Why? Because every student’s “profile” is unique: your high school stats, your requirements for location, environment (physical and academic), overall cost and areas of interest all help determine the number of colleges to which you’ll apply. The trend over the last few years is to apply to approximately 8-10 colleges, although as a college counselor I’d prefer to see you focus on a smaller, carefully targeted group. I’ve seen students apply to one school and to 19 schools, both extremes, and both slightly dangerous. If you start early (my mantra), you’ll allow yourself the opportunity to deeply research many colleges, visit several, and have a good range of possible, target and reach schools on your final list. Knowing a great deal about a college’s offerings and communicating this to the admissions committee (also known as demonstrating interest), will help your application stand out in the crowd of many, and give you an edge. You’ll also have an easier time deciding come May 1. Do your homework!

Brian D. CrispFounder and PresidentCrisp Consulting + Coaching; Burton College Tours

Quality of Quantity

Last week in the offices of Crisp Consulting+ Coaching, we discussed the State of College Admission report from National Association for College Admission Counseling. For the 2010-2011 admission season, over 70% of colleges and universities reported a rise in the number of applicants. Also reported, many students are applying to more than seven schools with many applicants submitting more than ten applications. These numbers continue to shock us all and counselors and consultants can infer students are applying to college without examining critical aspects of college fit. When applying to schools, carefully consider academic, social and financial fit to determine the schools of the best fit. This examination will provide a list of schools that will offer a thorough education while supporting personal growth.

Amy Foley

The Goldilocks Rule

Not too many and not too few. Not too many that you’re emptying your piggy bank for application fees. Not too few that you have too few choices this spring. There is only one exception to the rule: If you are 100% sure that you will attend your absolutely favorite, #1, dream-of-a-lifetime institution, apply to one… and only one. If admitted, you’re done! If, however, you are denied or waitlisted, submit applications for others. Talk about choices with your family. Visit schools that interest you most, and cross some off the list. Then, apply to between 3-10 (or so), including your flagship state, at least one where you rest squarely in the school’s profile, and others that resonate with you. Then, enjoy your winter break. Springtime, with its offers of admission and choices to make, will be here soon enough.

Peter Van BuskirkPresidentThe Admission Game

How Many Applications Will it Take?

With the proliferation of marketing strategies (by colleges) to generate more applications, it is tempting (and easy) to send out dozens of applications.It is best, however, that you stay focused. If you can keep your app total at or below eight, you will find that you are more apt to target schools that represent the best fits for you. Moreover, you will be able to manage the process of preparing the applications more efficiently. The more applications you put into play, the greater the pressure to complete the requirements of each. Even with the Common Application, you’ll find that completing the supplemental forms (and essays) can be time consuming and fatiguing. The latter is worth noting because you want to make sure each application reflects your best effort. Your submissions should never have the warmed up, “good enough” look.

Maureen LawlerCollege CounselorBishop Kelley High

There is no perfect number – use common sense

There is not perfect number of colleges to apply to. I have students who apply to only one because that is the school they want to attend and are admissible. I have students who apply to multiple schools because they have an idea and want options. We tell our students to consider two reach schools, two 50/50 schools and two schools they know they will gain admission. This is different for every student. One thing to consider when applying to multiple schools are the application fees. Many colleges charge anywhere from $25 to $75 in application fees and do not waive them no matter what application you use. Keep your numbers reasonable. Do your research first, narrow your choices and then apply.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

How many schools should I apply to?

A carefully crafted college list should consist of around 9 schools. If you have done your research and have evaluated your high school record candidly, you should be able to create a list of 5 target schools, 2 likely schools and 2 dream schools.

Calli ChristensonDirector CLC College Prep Services

The Key Is To Create Options For Yourself

I know of a few students who will only apply to three schools this year. They have done their research by visiting the campuses, they understand their admission chances, and they have spent a lot of time seriously considering their college choices. These students know their chance for admission is very high (based on their test scores and GPAs) and they know that each campus will fit who they are as individuals quite well. Regardless of which school (or schools) admits them, they have options in which they feel confident and excited about. On the other hand, I also know of many students who will apply to eight or ten schools this year, simply because they want MORE options. And there is nothing wrong with this. I encourage students to cap their applications at about 10, as many more than ten can get very overwhelming. If you’ve decided to apply to several schools, it’s important to be sure that you have back-up options. Apply to schools that fit who you are as a student and as an individual. Is your dream school slightly out of your reach? Apply anyways, but also apply to several “safer” options, as well. The point is: there isn’t a magic number of schools that any one person should apply to. Do your research and understand the type of schools you’re considering. Study the averages and trends for previous incoming classes to help you better understand your chances for admission. And remember: Always, always be sure you’re creating options for yourself!

Sue Luse

How many schools should I apply to?

8-10

Cynthia FergusonIndependent Educational ConsultantIn2College

Applying to the right colleges is as important as how many to apply to!

It depends on your resources, but I usually recommend between 5-10 colleges if you have planned well and are applying to the “right fit” colleges for you!

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