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Applying to the Right Number of Colleges: Is There One?

When it comes to the right number of applications to submit, is there a "perfect" number?

Aggie Kallinicou

December 14, 2015

Applying to the Right Number of Colleges: Is There One?
Throughout the fall and winter months, the college search is an extremely time-consuming aspect of life for high school seniors. One of the most important factors to think about when you begin applying to schools is how many to choose. Trying to write application and scholarship essays for an immense amount of schools can be an unrealistic goal, and it usually leads to stress and disappointment. Instead of spreading yourself too thin and turning in applications to 10+ schools, it's important to look closely at each college that you are considering and ask yourself why you're applying. If you’re applying because your parents love the school or your grandpa is an alum, you might want to rethink your choice. In the end, you're the one who is going to be spending four years of your life at the college you choose. By applying to schools you don't have an interest in, you're wasting your time, energy and making your final decision even harder.

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Although statistics and rankings are important, it's also necessary to look at details. Research each school you're planning to apply to and find out about areas that will be directly affecting you.
Most schools have "Student Life" sections on their websites in which you can browse a list of student organizations and ways to become involved on campus. Although these details may not seem significant, they are. Understanding what will be available to you if you become a student is vital.

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Another helpful tool that’s available to you is the course catalog. Browsing this catalog can help you to see if you have an interest in the classes that are offered. These are just a couple ways for you to get a feel for what each college is like and what’s important to the students that are currently in attendance. Many people ask “What’s a good number?” and there are numerous resources online that proclaim to have the “right” number of schools to apply to. The truth is, there is no “right” number, just like there is no “right” college.

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In the end, you have to decide what works best for you because that’s what the entire college admissions process is about: you. By researching different schools, you’ll figure out what draws your attention and what interests you. When it comes time to apply, just remember that you’re the one in control, and you’re in charge of your future. To make your final decision easier, apply to a reasonable number of schools and make sure that you have a valid interest in every school that you send in application to.

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