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How many reach schools is too many reach schools?
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My thinking is that if I apply to enough ivies and top tier schools, at least one of them has to accept me but I don't really know? What were your experiences with this or someone you know?

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Accepted answer

This regular decision season is like no other so if you truly want to attend a Top 20 school including the Ivys, Duke, Stanford, UChicago, Vandy, JHU then apply to as many as you can reasonably handle in terms of supplemental essays.

Why I say this the following.

1.) COVID-19 created an opportunity to apply w/o submitting test scores and also a problem because everyone and their cousin want to apply to T20 schools this fall. The factual effect of no test scores meant that applications surged for ED/EA/REA last month and T20 schools had 20% to 60% more applications (MIT+62%, Harvard +57%, Columbia +49%, Yale +38%) Conclusion: There is more competition now for RD

2.) Many ED/EA/REA applicants were deferred for RD, much more than other years. Conclusion: More competition.

3.) Since up to 20% of Class of 24' admits opted for a gap year, there are far fewer spots at all the T20 schools. Harvard had 349 deferred admissions, Yale and UPenn had something like 375 deferred admissions, Brown, Columbia, Princeton was like 200 and even MIT had 110 deferred admits. So for Class of 25,' there are fewer spots available. Conclusion: Although you are not competing with Class of 24' spots now you have more competition since there are 10-20% fewer spots. So all T20 colleges are putting the squeeze on and unless your application puts you squarely in the middle 50% and top quartile off last year's stats, you are most likely going to get bumped.

4.) Fewer students will get called off the waitlist this year versus last year because there are going to record RD applicants in the Top20 space. I think colleges will give out lots of Waitlists with no intention of having to call upon them just to placate all the people that felt they deserved a spot. So do not reflect on last year's waitlist stats or even the prior years. It's going to be standing room only if anyone gets lucky to get off a waitlist (figure of speech).

So after RD season is over I'm certain that we will see record application, record low admits rates and super high stats since many they are only going to report the scores of admits that submitted. I think at Top10 schools there will still be a lot of applicants who submit test scores since they've been doing college prep since 9th grade or earlier.

My experience is that no one from my school that applied ED/EA/REA got into anywhere good. I got lucky and got into Columbia but normally at least 10 kids usually get in early in typical years.

If you are a really good student, don't apply to more than 1 safety. I would recommend that you look into really good LAC Liberal Arts Colleges instead like Swarthmore, Pomona, Williams, Amherst, Vassar, Colgate, Hamilton, Bowdoin, Middlebury, CMC, Wellesley, etc. They all need-blind and offer excellent financial aid. They are not as well known as the T20 schools so many people don't know about them. I would have been perfectly happy attending any of them.

answered on[edited]
-3
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I have a major issue why are you so focused on your reach schools? Just apply to the schools you want to go and atleast one safety that is affordable and you can picture yourself it may be tenth on your list but apply to a safety school and as many others as you’d like that’s feasible.

Also depending on definition of top tier there is certainly some schools that are amazing but aren’t a top 50 school.

But for a more direct answer apply to atleast one safety and schools that you’d like to attend whether safety or long reaches.

Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!

The thing is, my reach schools are the most affordable because they have more financial aid to give out and also, a lot of those schools have been the schools that I really wanted to get into due to their wide range of majors and research opportunities. Also, the credibility of a school helps a lot when trying to find a job in the professional world and when you are trying to make connections. But I am also applying to likely schools as well for security
[edited]
Ah so as a Midwesterner my state schools is easily tied with my dream super selective school in terms of affordability. And schools admission rate isn’t a great indicator of prestige or availability of major. For example one of the majors I looked the school with the highest ranking by an industry magazine is a school with an 80% admit rate. But as I said apply to as many as is feasible along with one safety.