"I wish I had known how many schools to apply to ... I only applied to 4 ... and I was very apprehensive that that was not enough, even though I wasn't interested in others."
Danielle P., 21, Little Falls, New York
I think that this is a very genuine question/concern that a lot of students have who are applying to college. "But for real, how many colleges should I apply to?" Unfortunately, there is no major number or equation that when solved will tell you how many colleges to apply to. You need to have options but at the same time, you need to think about what is right for you!
First, only apply to those universities that you would be happy attending! If you know in your heart that you would rather enter the work force than attend that college then don't apply there! Don't waste your time and don't waste the university's time. If you would only be happy attending two universities, then only apply to those two, if you'd be happy at eight colleges, then apply to all eight. You have to do what's right for you!
Second, be realistic about your options. It is great to have your sights set on a few schools, but also apply to others if you don't think your chances are high of being accepted. I guess if there were a magic equation it would be, apply to 1 Reach school, 2 Standard schools, and 1 Safety school. While I don't necessarily agree with it, you need to have a realistic conversation with your school counselor and your parents about your opportunities. Don't make the only two colleges you apply to Harvard University and Yale University, but at the same time, don't just apply to community colleges when you really want to go to a four year school! Keep your options and choices in mind and make a plan!
Third, don't listen to your friends about colleges. While their insight/experiences visiting colleges may be helpful, their experiences don't always equate to your needs. If they are applying to ten schools ... good for them or if they are applying to one college ... still good for them. I think I say this all the time, but do what's right for you! Ultimately you have to live with your decisions about college, so plan wisely and apply to the colleges and universities you want!
|Pick your right path!|
I only applied to two colleges for my undergraduate degree and I applied to five universities for my graduate degree. For my undergraduate, there were only two schools that I absolutely loved and could completely see myself succeeding there, so I only applied to those two. Also, I did not have the time or the desire to apply to more than those two, so I didn't! In terms of my graduate career, I applied to that many to provide me with options for my future. I was also applying to full-time jobs and graduate assistantship positions, so ultimately I wanted whatever institution I attended to fit my career choice as well.
At the end of the day, it is not a competition with your peers, it is a competition with yourself to help build your brightest future, so apply to those colleges that fit your needs and your hopes for future successes!
enjoy the chase,