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.