How many Universities should you apply to?
Amruth Rai applied to 10 colleges and got into 7. He was glad he did apply to those many colleges. At the start Amruth was unsure of which university he would go to, so he decided he would toss in as many applications as he could. Like Amruth, it is not uncommon to apply to many colleges these days, as we see a large number of students wanting to apply to more colleges than ever. Even with so many colleges around, tough competition among the aspiring students make them go application crazy.
There is a great uproar of discussion in the social forums and expert advice on what is actually the “Magic Number?” Generally, a student can apply to about 6 to 8 colleges. This would consist of a couple of Safe Schools (Schools you will get into without a doubt), a couple of Match Schools (Schools in which you meet the requirement) and a couple of Ambitious Schools (Schools in which there is a less chance for you to get into). Again this selection depends on the student. If the student is confident and knows that he is a good match to a school, then a handful is fine. But ideally those who want to be on the safer side of the acceptance ratio tend to send out more applications.
A student's self assessment plays a vital role in deciding on applying to schools. When students think they meet a particular school’s requirements and that they are a great match, they get surprised when the schools they are confident of accepting them, have rejected their applications. This happened to Amruth as well, when he didn’t get into his top choice schools. But he was quite lucky to get admits from lesser known schools where his program of interest was offered with great expertise.
Now, how many is too many? To be on the safer side, apply to 6 - 8 colleges or may be a max of 10. We all know applying to colleges can be time-consuming and expensive and too many colleges would mean that much of work and eventual burn-out from the student's side. However, it is something absolutely necessary for aspiring students who wish to take their life on a pathway to success and decide on a number that they are comfortable applying to!
Here are some points to keep in mind while narrowing down a list of colleges you want to apply to:
1. Cost of attendance
2. Area of interest/majors offered
3. College ranking (only as a guideline; remember that no official ranking system exists for colleges and universities in the United States)
4. Type of institution
4. Internship and job offering
5. Campus culture
6. Location and weather