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Do you think there should be a limit to the number of schools one can apply to?

joecollege44joecollege44 179 replies13 threads Junior Member
Without having given it too much thought yet, my gut is telling me that yes, there should be a limit. Just curious if any if you have opinions on this.
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Replies to: Do you think there should be a limit to the number of schools one can apply to?

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2463 replies47 threads Senior Member
    In theory, I would support a very high limit, like 25 colleges or so.

    It gets dicey no matter what. First of all, it's still a free country. Who is going to set and enforce application limits? Is that really the squeaky wheel that needs the grease right now?

    Second, the Black Common Application is open to viewing by numerous colleges, HBCs, yes, but it's not entirely up to the applicant how many colleges see that app. Users of that app would then be said to be given an advantage.

    I object to public high schools that limit the number of transcripts they'll send, but I don't mind if they want to charge a higher amount after, say, 15 transcripts - and yet I see how that favors kids who can afford those extra fees.

    Tough to win that game. CC has been hashing out OP's question long before I got here too.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79072 replies703 threads Senior Member
    edited November 25
    From a public high school perspective, there should be no limits on the number of colleges, but it can be ok to limit the number of unique recommendations or other time consuming school support. If recommendations must be rationed, a transparent process accessible to all should be made.

    Also, public universities, particularly moderately selective stats-only admission ones*, should be more transparent about their admission thresholds (or past admission thresholds if they do not want to announce auto admit stats criteria). That can reduce the uncertainty that drives up the number of applications.

    *E.g. CSUs in California. Some like SJSU and CSUN are more transparent than others like SDSU and CPSLO.
    edited November 25
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  • MWolfMWolf 1805 replies13 threads Senior Member
    @socaldad2002 You are making a very good point, but I don't see how it could be implemented, or, more correctly, that it would be implemented.

    Colleges are too interested in increasing the number of applications, including, and especially, those colleges which are already receiving enough applications to be able to choose exactly the class that they wish.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5711 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I have similar feelings to @EconPop. It seems to me that if universities are sending ads encouraging a wide range of students to apply (presumably to get their acceptance rates down), the obvious result is that students apply to a lot of schools. Having admissions be so hard to predict also encourages students to apply to a lot of schools.

    I think that we would need to make admissions more predictable if we wanted to limit how many schools a student can apply to.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79072 replies703 threads Senior Member
    edited November 25
    I think that we would need to make admissions more predictable if we wanted to limit how many schools a student can apply to.

    Yes, that is why public universities, particularly moderately selective stats-only admission ones, should be more transparent about their admission thresholds. Those which include subjectively graded criteria or use holistic admission could also give more information than they do currently, even though admission uses more than just stats, so that applicants have a better idea of reach/match/likely/safety among their in state publics and can therefore make more realistic application lists.

    Private schools, of course, do whatever they want... but limiting the frenzy to private schools would be helpful to the bulk of students looking at their in state publics.
    edited November 25
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1681 replies14 threads Senior Member
    I don’t understand the rationale of applying to more than 10-12 schools personally. But it is a game that both sides are playing, many colleges want you to apply and have been lowering the bars of application while with increased COA families are forced to chase merit money and applying to more and more schools.
    I still think 10 schools should be more than sufficient for most kids to find a good place to go in the end. But I am seeing kids are applying to more schools, and earlier. I wonder whether pretty soon RD will disappear altogether.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1298 replies19 threads Senior Member
    An organization that collects PII from thousands of schools and then tries to match data, validate their findings, contact schools, contacts students, pull application, etc., all in the time between application due dates and acceptance dates? And the end of rolling admissions?

    Staffed by? Funded by? Overseen by?

    No.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23399 replies17 threads Senior Member
    If it causes more work for the high school, then I think the hs has the right to limit the number of application OR that the hs will only process the first 10 and then if there is extra time, send out the rest. No special recommendations or other special handling until everyone else's first 10 have been processed. Our hs charged per transcript, but it was only $2. They did not send them to the colleges, you had to pick up the sealed envelope and sent it in yourself (except for the instate public schools, which were sent electronically).

    I think schools limit the number of applications mostly to help the students work through the process. Decisions have to be made at some time, and if you apply to 25 schools and get 25 acceptances, you still have to pick just one. Even worse, if you apply to 25 school and get rejected by 25, it's pretty hard to recover. Better to do a good job on 10 applications than just send out a lot of applications. There was a guy on CC who sent out 32 applications (about 4 years ago?). Never heard how he did on acceptances.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5963 replies10 threads Senior Member
    My high school alma mater allows students only 10. Because most recs are used on many applications, it's not about limiting the GC's work. They market to the colleges that if a student has applied, the school should know it's a serious indication of interest.

    Personally, I don't think it's their place to do that. If a kid has several reaches but is qualified, needs FA or merit, or is an unrecruited athlete who may be exploring roster spots post acceptance (as examples), they may need/want more irons in the fire. With the cost of college, it's fair for an applicant to want to explore all of their options.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9086 replies337 threads Senior Member
    It's an open market, so people should apply where they want. Upper and middle income families may be able to afford to apply to just a handful of schools and call it a day because something is likely to be affordable. Low income families don't have that luxury.
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  • mathmommathmom 32533 replies159 threads Senior Member
    I don't think there should be a limit - if you are applying for financial aid or special programs with tiny acceptance rates you may need to apply more widely. That said, I don't think there should be any expectation that high schools tailor their letters to each school - that goes for both the GC and the teachers. I think high schools could also implement some system as suggested above. First ten schools by x date. The rest by y date.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7830 replies66 threads Senior Member
    I'm in the minority here but I do think there should be a limit. I think the ease of the common app and being able to apply to an unlimited number of schools with various applications has caused a lot of the drop in acceptance rates and the stress around the college process, especially for the top schools.

    If I had to arbitrarily set a number, it would be 20, which IMO, is more than enough even for students chasing merit.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79072 replies703 threads Senior Member
    If it causes more work for the high school, then I think the hs has the right to limit the number of application OR that the hs will only process the first 10 and then if there is extra time, send out the rest. No special recommendations or other special handling until everyone else's first 10 have been processed.
    mathmom wrote: »
    I think high schools could also implement some system as suggested above. First ten schools by x date. The rest by y date.

    To manage workload on the high school staff, it would be better if each student were allowed one counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations at high priority, with any additional only after everyone applying to colleges gets a counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations that they want. Applying to 10 or 20 colleges with the same recommendations is less work on the high school staff than applying to 3 colleges, each of which requires unique recommendations.
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 237 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited November 26
    I don't think there can be a limit. Some kids are chasing merit or applying to very competitive or niche majors and need more than 10 applications. Plus schools can spam email prospective students to apply so that's not fair (maybe just to pad their admit stats?).

    If you wanted to levy a fee for more than 10-15 apps that would be OK as long as there was a waiver process for special cases.

    That said, at some point it is ridiculous. If you do your research and run the NPC's you really should be able to be at 10 schools or less. You can only go to one school.

    Personally I think there should be some type of clearing house for applications to safety schools. Match your stats and major (or some other survey) to 3 local schools and have the application be automatic when the Common App opens in August. Also should be a "parents choice" school for an application on the Common App. After that it's up to the student.
    edited November 26
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34837 replies394 threads Senior Member
    edited November 26
    "YOU ARE SOMEONE WE HAVE TARGETED" Well, the hearing aid folks have targeted me, despite no hearing issues. Yesterday, I got "targeted" for preplanned funeral expenses.

    It's up to an individual to practice caveat emptor. We can only go so far in blaming assumptions on youth.

    My concern, I'd guess most know, is kids applying blindly, no understanding, just knowing their hs likes stats, titles, and a nice kid, reliable, no trouble personality.

    What point is applying unlimited, when you have next to no idea what's expected? And then calling it a crapshoot? Or blaming colleges for that "transparency" you didn't do due diligence on?

    And look at the mistakes that come up every fall: simple errors, "I listed it as honors and it wasn't," "I put in 100 hours and it was 40," and worse. Or want to write essays off track, risky, not relevant.

    Not the colleges' fault, or marketing, or their low admit rates.

    Yes. I wish for a nice limit, like 8 (!) I've been thinking this for years. And a narrower window for top holistics.

    Crapshooting is an excuse.

    Why not 2 reaches, 4 nice matches, 2 ultimate safeties? Why can't kids have that focus?
    edited November 26
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13138 replies246 threads Senior Member
    Why not 2 reaches, 4 nice matches, 2 ultimate safeties?

    Mine couldn't have done that small a list, because finances were an issue (divorce is a very real wild card in trying to figure out need-based aid).

    Of course with 20/20 vision in the rearview, they could have skipped the ones they ultimately didn't get into or didn't get enough aid to attend, but in the fall no one knew which those would be.

    Both did have one guranteed in terms of admission and affordability. But not a safety in the "I'd be thrilled to go there" sense.
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