Should I apply to many colleges?

Most students worry about these questions: “How many colleges should I apply to?”  What number is too many? What number is too few? Read more at Unfortunately, even specialists and former students offer differing and conficting advice, which further confuse aspiring college students.

How many colleges should I apply to - imageRight now, to clear up this perplexity. I’ll give you an idea regarding the number of colleges you ought to apply to. After reading this guide, you’ll feel more confident about creating your own shortlist and how long or short it should be. We hope this guide will help you succeed in your quest to continue studying.

Keep in Mind…

Unfortunately, there is no magic number. Each case is unique, i.e., the number of colleges or universities you should contact depends mainly on your particular circumstances. In most cases, you would to well to apply to somewhere up to fifteen colleges.

The standard recommendation from instructors, if you want to make sure that you get a place,  is between six and eight colleges: 2-3 your desired colleges, 2-3 your reach colleges, and 2 security or back up colleges.

Boost your chances of success

Even if you are set on one particular place, you should still apply to more than one. Imagine your chances of being accepted in each college is 25%. If you apply just to one, the odds will be stacked against you, i.e., you are more likely to end up with no place. If, on the other hand, you contact ten of them, your likelihood of finding a place are excellent.

If you apply to sixteen, your chances are even better, better still 20, etc. To boost your probability of success, therefore, you should apply to more than just your target college. Set yourself a practical limit. Practical, in this context, means a number that you could comfortably cope with.

Applying to Fewer College is Best

Here are a couple of elements that may constrain the number of colleges you ought to apply to.

Money, Time and Application Cost

Unless your circumstances entitle you to expense waivers, which mainly depend on monetary need, applying to college can be costly. Also, there can be costs related to sending state sanctioned test scores and AP scores to colleges. The ACT and SAT allow you to send up to four score reports to educational establishments.

Few colleges meet your standards

If you find that only two or three colleges or universities have what you are looking for, there is really no point in applying to more, unless you are willing to dramatically change your plans and aspirations.

When I was applying, I realized that I needed to look for an NCAA Division. There were about 15 NCAA Divisions. When I researched further, I came to the conclusion that only a select few schools had what I was seeking. I ended up applying to four colleges.

Arranging your college picks

When you have finally made a shortlist of places, you should arrange them according to your ideal choice, academic level, exam scores, and how much you or your parents can afford.

Make sure you apply

Remember that you may not succeed in getting into your first choice institution. You might not even get your preferred course. However, if you don’t apply, you most certainly won’t get a place. This advice may sound obvious, however, you’d be surprised at how many teenagers and young adults forget to or decide not to apply each year. At least, if you do apply, you will never have to wonder would might have happened if….

If you want to get into top colleges such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, or MIT in the United States, or Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, or the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom, you will need excellent grades. Some of these places may ask you to send additional work or require you to do extra tests.

If your grades are good, but not ‘top’ ones, should you apply to ivy league schools? The simple answer is ‘Yes.’ College selectors do not only look at your grades, but also your personal context. If your grades could have been higher had your circumstances had been different, they might take that into account.

More than just good grades

In the United States, for example, top universities need more than just good grades. They want people who can add something special to the college experience. If you are talented in sports or a musical instrument, make sure they know about it.

When you are at the interview, do not try to be somebody or something you are not, i.e., be yourself. Even though you have to be impressive as a person and academically, if you are not yourself, you will probably come over as false … and fail.