How Many College Applications Should I Submit?

There isn't a specific number of college applications that one should submit, but it's generally advisable to apply to multiple schools. This article provides some advice on deciding how many college applications to submit.

Submitting College Applications

Students should consider the advice of school counselors, their parents, and other college resources when selecting which colleges to apply to. CollegeBoard recommends applying to between five and eight schools. It is best to make sure that the students apply to schools that match their program interests, financial needs, and academic capabilities. Ideally, applicants want to be accepted at several schools, so they have some choice on which school to attend. It is also important to note that submitting college applications takes time and money, so it's wise not to apply to more schools than you have the time and resources to handle.

Important Facts About College Applications

Academic Considerations Grade Point Average (weighted and unweighted), standardized test scores, AP/IB courses
Extracurricular Considerations Athletic teams, special interest clubs, community service, volunteer experience
Supplemental Materials Teacher recommendation, application essay
Additional Requirements Certain programs may require specialized materials, such as an audition for a theater program or the completion of prerequisite math courses for an accounting program

Applicant Credentials

You should be realistic about the likelihood of admission to your schools of choice. For example, students with average grades and test scores can apply to top-tier schools, but they should also apply to colleges that accurately match their credentials. Keep in mind that college admissions are a competition and other candidates might be equally or more qualified for admission. CollegeBoard recommends submitting college applications to some schools with a high probability of admission, a few with decent admission chances and one or two that are long shots. This way, you'll likely be accepted somewhere desirable, even if it isn't your first choice.

College Location

Applicants who wish to attend college in a specific area are advised to submit applications to several schools in that region. For example, if you want to go to college on the West Coast, you should apply to multiple schools there. This maximizes your chances of attending school in the region you most want. It is, however, important to research the colleges to make sure they meet other criteria besides location, such as appealing academic programs and reasonable tuition rates.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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