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How many colleges to apply to?

GuitarANDMeGuitarANDMe Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
Hi CCers!! :D

I still have a few years before I apply for colleges but I was just wondering: how many colleges is a good amount to apply to?? Also, how many safeties is a good amount to have?

Money isn't really the issue, but its more of how many is a good amount to apply to but still keep the quality of essays and the overall application very good.

Thanks!! :)
Post edited by GuitarANDMe on

Replies to: How many colleges to apply to?

  • crstalsngcrstalsng Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    8 is the recommended number. Three reach schools, three match schools, and two safeties.
  • crstalsngcrstalsng Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    I guess I mean "average number" rather than recommended number.
  • GuitarANDMeGuitarANDMe Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Oh ok thanks!! :D
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,338 Super Moderator
    The number of apps is whatever you are comfortable with (for applying and then evaluating at the end). Eight is a perfectly fine number. Both my DDs applied to five. If you have a single safety you will definitely be accepted to, can afford, and are happy to attend then one safety is fine. Some people recommend two just in case.
  • SAMGinny16SAMGinny16 Registered User Posts: 227 Junior Member
    Well, I applied to 20 but that was only because I received a lot of free apps lol. Don't do that though, 8 is a nice number, but I recommend 10 so you at least have a little bit more options
  • pittpanther50pittpanther50 Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    8 is the recommended so go with that. However make sure they arent just random colleges of course.
  • GuitarANDMeGuitarANDMe Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Ok thanks everyone!!! :D The only thing thats confusing me is: I want to apply to around 10 but at the same time there's this complex of thinking 'should I have applied to this?' and regretting not applying somewhere that I didn't apply after I'm done with the process. You know what I mean?
  • SAMGinny16SAMGinny16 Registered User Posts: 227 Junior Member
    I think you should apply to whatever you'd like, but don't go crazy like I did lol.
    If there's that one school that looks to be out of reach, but you really really want to apply there, GO FOR IT! I applied to a few reaches, and my end result was 13 acceptances, 6 rejections and one waitlist--and I'm going to the college that I've always wanted to go to :D
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,169 Senior Member
    You might be able to limit the number of applications if you have any schools on your list that have non-binding EA or rolling admissions. If you get into some schools early that you like better than others on your list you might be able to apply to fewer schools.
  • GuitarANDMeGuitarANDMe Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Thanks for the great advice guys!!!! :)
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,495 Senior Member
    My D2 did a pretty thorough search and applied to 8 colleges; she had 10 on her list, but dropped 2 after getting into an EA school that she knew she preferred over the 2 she dropped. She had 1 safety, 4 matches, and 3 reaches. She got in everywhere she applied. This gave her a nice range of types of schools, locations, and financial options to decide between in the spring.

    As a parent I think that submitting a lot of FA packages is at least as much of a pain as doing lots of applications. Every college has their own requirements for what to send, some have extra forms, and the method and timing of when they want to receive the documentation varies. My D2 only applied for need based aid at 5 of her 8 schools, and it about made me crazy. I would think twice before putting in more than 10 applications for that reason alone, unless you are not applying for need based aid. By the way -- you say finances are not an issue, but you really want to have your parents help you run some net price calculators. With some colleges running over $60K a year, that is a big chunk of money for almost any family to pay out; you want to make sure your parents REALLY know what they might have to pay for the schools you apply to.
  • GuitarANDMeGuitarANDMe Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Thanks for the input! :)
    When I say money isn't really the issue, I mean the money we need to pay to be able to apply itself.
    I am well aware of the troubles my parents have gone through for my education and I'm going to try my best to not be too much of a burden on them and make use of every opportunity I have. =]
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Registered User Posts: 2,731 Senior Member
    I think the number varies a lot depending upon several factors:
    - if you are trying to get into the most selective ones. Since the odds are so low at these "lottery" schools, you need to apply to a whole bunch of them, and a bunch of schools where your odds are much better too. So kids trying to get into Ivy league schools often apply to 15 or more schools...
    - if you are trying to get lots of aid, either need-based or merit aid. Both types of aid are very unpredictable.
    - How happy you truly are with your state schools. Some kids know they want to save money and go to one of their state schools. So they apply to the state flagship and a few others. My son applied to 13 since we were hoping for merit aid. He did get merit aid and the amount varied a lot! So I am glad we took that approach.
    - Wether or not you get in to your favorite school EA or ED. My son got into one of his favorite schools EA and this allowed him to drop 3 or 4 other schools from his list.

    So there is no magic number that applies to all students!
  • GuitarANDMeGuitarANDMe Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Haha ok thanks so much! :)
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,862 Senior Member
    This may be a different answer:

    First, find one or more safety schools. You must be assured of admission, assured that you can afford to attend, and assured that it has suitable academics for you. Of course, you should like it enough that you won't be disappointed to attend.

    After that, you can add any number of other schools to your application list. Obviously, it makes no sense to add any school that you would not choose over your safeties even if they were free, and it makes no sense to add any school with insufficient financial aid and no large-enough merit scholarships.
This discussion has been closed.