4 years ago
Admissions Advice

How many colleges is too many?

I have a really long list of colleges I am planning to apply to. Since college admissions are so up in the air right now, do you think it is better to apply to more schools or less schools? How many safeties vs. reach schools should I apply to? I have already written my UC essays, and my main common app. If you could give me some guidance that would be great.

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3 answers

4 years ago

Normally, I'd suggest applying to 6-15 colleges. These should include 2-3 safety schools, some match schools, and some reach schools. However, that would be hypocritical as I, myself am applying to 18 colleges. This is what I will tell you.

If you are applying to multiple colleges within the same system, that will reduce your workload. For instance, if you live in Texas or California, you can likely apply to 20 colleges without overloading yourself. However, if you are applying to 20 separate colleges (for instance if you were applying to your state flagship and 19 reach schools) you could easily run the risk of burning yourself out. Since you seem to have UC essays done, I'd say you should be good.

Also, some advice for reducing a list. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT shotgun ivy league colleges. Dartmouth is extremely different from Princeton. A student like me who loves Brown's open curriculum would hate the core curriculum of Columbia. This applies to other long reach colleges. Amherst is very different from Swarthmore. Wesleyan is very different from Colby. If that is a reason your list is so long, you should research your BEST FIT and that could reduce your list.

Make sure to factor in cost as well. College apps cost around $70, and sending SAT/ACT scores costs $15/score send. This can easily go over $1500 if you are not careful.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please comment below!

4 years ago[edited]


4 years ago

So while I agree with Adri and Crsgo I’d apply to

Dream school typically a really prestigious school ie Rice

Safety School sure you will get in ie Kansas

Cheap school ie instate school that isn’t the flagship such as UTEP

(Cheap and safety may overlap)

Schools you’d like to go to (typically targets) ie UT Austin.

As I believe Crsgo said don’t apply to a school becuase of its name/prestige apply becuase you’d like to go there.

Typically if you already have a list and are narrowing it down ask yourself does any other school on my list is just better than one school that is the same catergory.

Also I’d apply to typically 2-5 dream school, 3-5 cheap/safeties then 4-7 schools you’d like to go to. Again think about your finicials as ivies can be cheaper then instate due to aid.

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!

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