How Many Schools Should I Apply to Amidst COVID

I recently saw a Yale University TikToker make a video saying that most spots in the Class of 2025 are taken because people in the class of 2024 deferred their enrollment. Currently, I have 9 schools on my list which I recently got down from 15 schools. I want to give myself the best shot of going somewhere I actually want to be but I’m also the type of kid that constantly keeps my parents in mind and I can’t help but see adding another school as another hundred dollars to my already hefty estimated application fees + score sending fees.

Can anyone give input on this and what should I do?

I haven’t seen any published numbers from Yale, but I doubt that “most” students in the class of 2024 deferred their enrollment. At Princeton, for example, only 16% of incoming frosh are taking a gap year. I realize that even if the percentage is similarly low at Yale, it might still make getting admitted harder than usual for the class of 2025 – but it’s certainly better than if most incoming students had deferred.

OP- even without Covid, you need a well thought out application list which includes matches and safeties… and if your current list is Yale, Harvard, Brown, Duke and Rice, you most emphatically need to work on this.

So many unknowns- and nobody on the internet can tell you what next year will look like (vaccine? herd immunity? kids who defer decide to go to their state flagship if it’s going to be another year of online learning?). So focus on what you CAN control- your own list, which has colleges on it which are affordable and where you will get in no matter what happens to the deferrals/admits/rejects/etc. at Yale.

I somewhat agree with @blossom. Covid-19 is only going to make what is ordinarily a highly dynamic admissions cycle even more of a crapshoot if none of the Ivy universities get back to operating at or near full capacity. Keep an eye on some of the smaller eastern seaboard LACs: the Wesleyans, the Middleburies, the Davidsons. If they can somehow ride out the pandemic with only minor episodes of infection, they may present more predictable odds of admission by the end of fall semester.

No, “most” Fall 2021 spots at Yale are not yet taken. I would be shocked if that Tiktoker was a IRL official representative from administration or admissions.

Apply to the same number of colleges that you were going to apply to pre-covid. Start your list with safeties and matches, and only then move on to the reaches.

I do think some kids are going to have to cast a wider net in this application season in order to get the financial aid they need, with lost revenue and budgets being tighter than usual for colleges. Since so few colleges are “need blind” AND “meet full need”, the reality is that “wider net” will be most effectively cast at colleges where merit is actually a possibility, not at an endless stream of reach schools such as Yale.

Thank you for your input, I appreciate it! I am not actually applying to Yale, I only included that the TikToker was a Yale student because I am interested in Brown and UPenn, which are also Ivy League schools that I thought might have similar situations. Also, the schools I tagged are not exactly schools I’m applying to, I only tagged them so that this post could be seen. So far, I am in the running for merit scholarships at the safety schools and match schools I am applying to. Thanks again!

This gives me some reassurance, thank you! And no, this was not an official representative, just a student at Yale that gives prospective students advice and college advising. Currently I have 10 schools on my list that I feel great about. 5 reaches and 5 safeties/matches, with combined programs and merits across each category and misc. things I am interested in about the school. I have friends that are maxing out their Common App and it made me a bit nervous because we have similar goals (we both are planning to be premed, applying to BS/MD programs, want scholarships etc). But, I just don’t want to imagine 20 applications or even 15! It made me a bit insecure, but honestly I just have to worry about me during this time and focus on making my applications great.