How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

Many graduating high school seniors, and even undergraduates, that are planning to earn their advanced degrees wonder how many colleges you should apply to when applications are being accepted. You have very few opportunities to apply to college, and the more applications that you send in, the more likely you are to gain acceptance to an institution. While you might assume that applying to every college you have a chance with is best, it can get expensive when the school you are applying to charges an application fee. If you are not sure how to decide where to apply and how many schools are enough, here is a guide to help.

How to Create a College List Of Schools to Apply to

College admission can be extremely competitive. Because of this, filling out your college applications and completing that dreaded admissions essay could be time-consuming. This is why you need to begin the process by creating a college list. When you are creating your list, it is best to include a combination of schools that have lenient and strict admissions guidelines. Most admissions counselors recommend you include safety schools, probable schools and reach institutions. Reach institutions are those you are least likely to get accepted by.

How Many Schools Should Be On This List?

Your college list is just a start. You should not begin filling out electronic applications until you take the time to narrow down and finalize your list. You could have a dozen safety, probable and reach schools on the list, but once the finalization is done you should have between 5 and 10. When you have this many under consideration, there is more flexibility to ensure you will be accepted into a school. You can never guarantee that you will gain acceptance, but you can improve those chances with research and by sizing up the competition.

How Can You Narrow Your List Down?

You should be prepared to narrow down your college list at least a year before the semester begins. There are some very important factors to consider when you are deciding which colleges you really do not need to apply for. Check the degree programs offered, find out about the financial aid programs offered at the school, review the admissions guidelines, graduation rates, and the percentage of people accepted.

Cost should also be a major determining factor when you are narrowing your list. If you do not qualify for aid and the tuition is high, you might want to reconsider your options until you can get awarded a scholarship. If you have the budget, visiting schools to find the one that just feels right is suggested. Student cultures and the overall environment can be different from school to school.

There has been a recent surge in the number of seniors and the number of adult re-entry students who are applying to college. If you want to find the right school, you need to do your homework before you even enroll. You should weigh the admissions criteria, size up the competition, and label each school safety, probable or reach. After doing this, you can then decide how many colleges you should apply to so that you can study for a career.

For information on finding an inexpensive college, please see: Cheapest Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees 2014.