How Many College Applications Should You Complete?

When it is time to start the college application process, you may be wondering how many applications to send out to different colleges. While there may not be a simple answer to this, the first thing you should do is narrow down the list of colleges you are choosing. The list should be tight and focused with key features that you are looking for. When applying for colleges, keep these things in mind:

  • Do the research on the college. Make sure it’s offering the degree you want and any other extracurricular activities you want to participate in.
  • Look at the schools closest to you, even in your state. This can cut the cost of tuition and you might find the colleges there are really good.
  • Consider why you want to attend that college. Is it because a parent or relative went there and they want you to go there too? Are friends going there and you want to also? These may be okay reasons to attend the college, but will it get you the education you want?
  • Consider the cost. This is important factor and if you are already applying for scholarships, the cost can become a major factor.

Many students submit 7 or more applications to colleges. This is mainly due to the idea that the more applications submitted, the better chance for acceptance. This can be especially true when applying for financial aid when there is more competition out there to get it.

Keep in mind the more applications you fill out also means many more essays to complete, interviews to possibly go to and deadlines to meet. This can cause a huge amount of stress and anxiety to meet so many demands.

Completing numerous applications also leaves you open to more errors and mistakes as well. Keep in mind, you will still be in school, keeping grades up, participating in sports or other activities and could also be working a part-time job. Combine this with a college list of 10 plus schools or more and the chances of getting everything done correctly goes down.

It is better to narrow the schools down to six to eight possible colleges to apply to. The other reason for this is that when the application process is over there are two scenarios that can occur. One is that there could be more rejection letters which will add additional emotional stress and possibly reak havoc on your self-esteem, and two there will be more acceptance letters, which will make choosing which one even harder. This too can cause additional stress and anxiety. It also means narrowing the college choices down again with no clear path, especially since you already started with so many.

Keeping the list to six to eight schools means completing a number of outstanding essays and applications, which will give you a better chance of getting in. The essay portion is extremely important and a lot of time needs to be spent on this section of the application.

It also means that the chosen colleges may all have similar qualities and characteristics. This can make the application process a lot easier as well as completing the essay portion.

Furthermore, six to eight colleges gives enough range that there is a chance to get into the target schools, as well as have applications sent out to the safety net schools and the reaching schools. There is a good range with six to eight colleges chosen. Consider it as one reaching school, one safety school that you wouldn’t mind attending and three target schools. If there are eight schools chosen, then look at six target schools, one reach school and one safety school.

This combination can be changed up of course, but the point is, there should be enough wiggle room to get into the colleges you want to without over burdening yourself or having the quality of the applications going down.

However, no matter how many schools you choose to apply to, make sure to do the research before hand. The more research that is done on the schools you are looking at the better the chance of narrowing the list to the ones you really want to attend.

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