How many schools should I apply to?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

How many schools should I apply to?



Allen Hill
School Counselor Antelope 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.

Woodrow Dunn
Academic Counselor Freedom 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.

Elisa Bennett
Director & Independent College Counselor Access 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

Chyriell Drain-Hill
Director of School Counseling Belleville Township HS East

How many appplications should I submit?

I recommend a minimum of 3 college applications.

Susan Hanflik
Educational Consultant Susan 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.

Ted Skowron
Counselor Brophy 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.

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!