Does Applying to 10+ Schools Hurt Odds?

Recently in a college counseling meeting, the speaker said that one’s chances of being admitted would be decreased if they applied to more than 10 schools. They explained that since the colleges would see that you’re applying to so many schoowould therefore be wary of accepting you in order to protect yield. I have not heard about this anywhere else, and college raptor says this is a myth. So, is this a real thing? Should I therefore only apply to 10 schools?

I have not heard of any such thing ever. It can reduce any given student’s chances to apply to more than a certain number of schools , if certain factors diminish the quality of the applications, keeping track of the schools, etc. It can make a difference to chances if you apply to less than a certain number if you don’t pick the schools strategically, or because of sheer statistics. I’ve known kids (one of mine included) who were were accepted to a school added to list as an afterthought. If that school were not added, that acceptance would not have happened. In some cases, that extra school could be a selective one.

Last I heard, there are ways you can keep colleges from seeing how many schools or what schools you have applied to. The only ways I know that this shows up is not from the common app but through batch sending of FAFSA and some test scores. I don’t know if that has changed.

At my kids’ schools, it was not unusual to apply to more than 10 schools. Nothing was ever said of disadvantages of doing so, other than as mentioned.

Applying to more colleges that require unique essays could result in being able to make less effort on each essay, which may reduce the chance of admission.

In terms of yield protection, some colleges consider “level of applicant’s interest”, which can be particularly important if you appear “overqualified” for the college and could be applying to it as a “safety” (although colleges that consider “level of applicant’s interest” should not be considered as “safety” for this reason).

For the most selective universities, I think that you should be able to answer the question “Why do you want to attend this school”. I do not think that you are likely to come up with a good answer for 10 different highly selective universities. There is a good chance that this will come through, even if unconsciously, in your essays.

Why are you considering applying to more than 10 schools?

Some private schools limit the number of applications they will support as well.

IMO if you are applying to schools with extra essays, it’s a ton of work to research, write, and demonstrate why you are a good match to more than ten.

The reason the counselor gave is not true.

Colleges do not know where else you have applied…

Whether you have the ability to prepare quality apps is a bigger consideration. For some students, a somewhat expanded list makes sense.

Colleges have no way of knowing how many schools you apply to. That choice is up to you and what you feel comfortable with. Common app allows up to 20!

I believe at one time a school could tell by you FASFA. This has been corrected. Maybe @kelsmom can confirm or deny my memory.

Yes, at one time, colleges could see the school codes for the other colleges you listed on your FAFSA. That is no longer the case. Colleges can’t see the other school codes, nor can they tell how many other colleges you listed on your FAFSA.

Even when the schools could see the other schools on the FAFSA, colleges would have had no way to know if listed more than 10 schools. That is because you can only list 10 schools on a FAFSA transaction. If you want to list more, you have to remove schools so you can add more.

If a college asks you for the names of other schools to which you are applying and you choose to name all of the schools … and if it’s more than 10 schools … maybe some schools care. When I worked in undergraduate admissions, I didn’t look at other schools. (It was a bit different for graduate admissions, but we also knew that most students who said they weren’t applying anywhere else actually were … it became pretty obvious when they turned us down for another school!)

Wow, this is a great update. I used to think it would, but with this new information, I’ll make sure not to let the fear of colleges not liking my indecisiveness affect the number of schools I apply to. I’m definitely going to focus a lot on my “Why this school?” essay, but I’ve started early, so hopefully I can focus on a lot of schools.

My son’s particular situation was one that made sense for him to apply to many universities. I encouraged my son to apply to more schools than you are considering. Ultimately, he’s attending a university were he is already very happy at and that offered him substantial financial aid.

This was not one of the first schools he applied to. If we had stopped at 5, he would not be going there. If we had stopped at 10, he would not be going there. If we stopped at 20, he would not be going there.

It is important you have a good reason to apply to the number of schools you choose. And it is important you are able to complete the applications compently and on time. And it is important you are able to keep track of all the responses and requests for more information. But as long as you have that take care of, I say go for it.