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Why Apply to More Colleges If You've Found THE One?

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 216 Editor
You've found the college of your dreams, but your parents want you to apply to more schools -- what should you do? The Dean has advice. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/why-apply-to-more-colleges-if-youve-found-the-one/

Replies to: Why Apply to More Colleges If You've Found THE One?

  • chercheurchercheur Registered User Posts: 1,251 Senior Member
    Good advice. My student ended up at the school we initially didn't think was a strong contender. Things can and do change!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,195 Senior Member
    Lots of students on these forums fixate on "THE One" dream school, but still need to apply to other schools because "THE One" dream school is not a safety.
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 4,089 Senior Member
    I've always disliked the concept of a "dream college" for many reasons, including all the heartbreak that results from a dream denied ... particularly because, for many students, the rationale that elevated the school to the top slot wasn't even necessarily sound.

    But in the case of the student who sent this "Ask the Dean" query, there's no doubt that he'll be admitted to THE ONE college he's selected, but I still find it unwise in this case to apply to only a single school.
  • chercheurchercheur Registered User Posts: 1,251 Senior Member
    I agree about the "dream school" notion; many times the dream turns into a nightmare!

    Students can thrive at many different schools. Our children would have been happy at any of the schools they applied to. We told them their college experience will be what *they* make out it.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,336 Senior Member
    I don't particularly agree with The Dean's advice and analysis.

    Has the family actually done the financial evaluations necessary? Did they run all the Net Price Calculators? Is the student in line for serious need-base or merit-based aid at John Jay? Is the student guaranteed admission there? If the money is solid and the admission is guaranteed, the student has a true safety that he/she likes safely in hand. Any other admission offer would be gravy. My own kid was surrounded by well-meaning folks who encouraged applying to umpteen places that were utterly unaffordable.

    Yes a lot of students with low HS GPAs enroll at John Jay, but that doesn't mean they will last past Fall Break. By the time the applicant in question is in her/his second year, the crowd will be much thinner. By senior year it will be thinner yet. If the applicant is at the top of the heap for the major, he/she will have lots of good opportunities.

    It really, truly, is OK to be one and done. Students and their parents can let themseves fall into the "but why don't you apply to famous place." trap, but they needn't feel obligated to do so.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,542 Senior Member
    My kids each applied to only one school (different schools for each). It wasn't that they were dream schools at all, but they found the ones they liked, applied with rolling admissions and had acceptances by Oct., the financial aspect could work for me. Both were warned that if anything happened, they'd either have to take a gap year or go to a local school or community college. Both agreed to that (and I don't think would have been that disappointed if a gap year had been required) and we went forward with just one application. Originally I had said they had to apply to at least one public, instate school, but after their acceptances they never did apply to those.

    A classmate only applied to FSU. Her mother went to FSU, her father went to FSU, her brother went to FSU. She was going to FSU. She never looked at or considered another school (even though they had a home near Gainesville). She was also accepted in Nov so knew she was in well before having to submit another app.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,870 Senior Member
    There's no secret formula for situations like this. As a young man, I only applied to THE ONE dream college. When it came time to apply to grad schools, I only applied, again, to THE ONE dream grad school, then another dream grad school followed by another. Each time, just one application. Fortunately, things have worked out for me.

    However, that's not the approach that I had taken with my own sons or would advise others to follow UNLESS the dream school is: 1) guaranteed for admission, 2) affordable, and 3) chosen based on, as in this case, a specific strength in the field of study as well as other "fit" considerations.

    More common situations around THE ONE dream school that I often come across in forums like CC, though, is that the dream school is really formulated in the young minds by prestige perception or popularity of the school irregardless of any consideration of the personal "fit" factors. One annual ritual that I don't look forward to witnessing here on CC is too many dreams being crushed.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,308 Senior Member
    My youngest D had a single school she wanted to apply to. It was a safety and she was probably in the top 5% or so of the students applying. She asked after she was accepted in October if she had to apply to any other schools. We asked her to apply to 3 other schools (all higher ranked) so she would truly have a choice and to see if there might be others schools ultimately more affordable. She was accepted to all and one was slightly more affordable but she knew where she wanted to attend. She is now a junior, loves the school, and is creating great opportunities for herself. When she visited the school, talked to some professors and to advisors in the area she ultimately wanted to study, she knew it was where she wanted to attend. She felt at home and it checked all of her boxes. The more selective schools always fell short in some area or just didn't feel as right. She is a pretty adaptable young lady so I'm confident she would have done well in a lot of places but it was fascinating to see her so determined to attend a specific school and not be concerned with where she would be accepted or making a decision. The decision had been made in August when she applied.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,308 Senior Member
    I addition to what I said earlier. In my opinion limiting your options to one school works best when you are decisive and have a set path. If my D hadn't been so sure of what she wanted to study and the direction she wanted to take I probably would have encouraged her to consider the more highly ranked schools (none were Ivy League level schools). They might have ensured a stronger program regardless of a change of major though I believe that it is the student more than the school that makes their education successful. Obviously the school would have to be a safety and as such affordable.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,195 Senior Member
    It may not be all that unusual to apply to just one college for those who apply EA or ED or early rolling to their first choice college, get admission (and FA/scholarship affordability if needed) early, and then not bother applying anywhere else.
  • VineyarderVineyarder Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    My D19 has applied EA to Parsons School of Design, and she doesn't intend to apply anywhere else. It's a safety for her given her scores, grades and talents, but she knows she wants to work on the business side of the art world and thinks after extensive research that the Parsons BBA in strategic design and management is the best program for her. She visited Parsons as well as eight other schools, so it's not a blind decision. We initially thought she should apply at least to her second-choice school, Brown, but she'd either get rejected or get in and still go to Parsons. We're ultimately happy with her process and her choice. (And we'd be full-pay anywhere and luckily don't need to shop around based on expense, although we're hopeful she'll get a good merit-aid package.)
  • coolguy40coolguy40 Registered User Posts: 1,932 Senior Member
    It depends on the school. If it's an affordable school, then there's no problem. But my daughter goes to community college for 1-2 semesters if she's rejected. No gap year. Fortunately for my wallet, my daughter is pretty down-to-earth about her college ambitions, so it's unlikely she'll be applying somewhere exotic. Every kid is different, but you want to reign in the emotion, especially for hyper-selective colleges. Even if they get in, often that's only half the battle. Some majors are also hyper-competitive(UT-Austin for instance). You want some good practical backup options because kids don't always get picked for the major they want.

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