How many schools should you apply to?

Many students wonder: What exactly is the magic number of schools they should apply to?  There is no definite answer to this question.  When considering the number of schools you want to apply to, and which university application to submit, you should take into account many different factors.  First, consider only schools you really want to attend.  Do not apply to a school just because of its reputation or because it is considered highly competitive.

Begin by making a preliminary list of all of the schools you think you may want to attend and research schools that have good programs for your areas of interest.  Make sure you visit the schools to ensure you truly enjoy the location, surroundings, campus size, and student population.  Nearly all schools offer tours and informational presentations.  Set up a visit with the school and get a feel for the location.  Narrow your list down after visiting schools to only include the schools you enjoyed and can see yourself attending.

When deciding the number to actually apply to, consider the application costs as well as the acceptance rate.  Remember that regardless of grades and test scores (SAT or ACT test, AP Exams, SAT Subject Tests, etc.), you are not guaranteed admission to any one school. A good guideline is to include at least two safety schools, three most likely schools, and three reach schools on your list.  When it comes down to deciding where to attend you want to have options.  Don’t forget that every application comes with a fee.  Sit down with your parents and discuss a budget.  If you ever have a hard time with the process remember you have counselors and advisors at school that can help you. College Board and the Revolution Prep blog can also be great resources for information.  Make use of all of your available resources and sit down with your parents and school counselors and work out a plan for the application process that is best for you!

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