Stop Panicking! Discover How Many Colleges You Should Apply to

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Choosing a college might be a difficult decision to make. It is even more complicated when you discover that you have to apply to more than one university at a time to amplify your possibilities. But, how many colleges should I apply to? In this article, we give you some advice as regards college applications. 

The question of how many colleges you should apply to is very popular. You are not the only person who is worried about college applications. In fact, thousands of students end the school year with zero knowledge about the colleges and universities they are fond of. Counselors might help students to make up their minds and help them hone their writing skills to create the perfect application essay, but the final decision is up to you. You will be the one who is going to decide on the right college. 

How Many Colleges Should I Apply to? 

The truth is… there is not an established number of colleges you should apply to. That is also your decision. However, there is an estimate of what would be the best for you. You will have to apply for more than one, that is for sure. Applying for only one college might be risky. No matter your GPA, you should always have more than one option. Our recommendation is that you apply to at least 8 universities. 

One important point to remember is that some of those 8 universities have to be “safety” schools, others have to be “target” schools, and some others should be “reach” schools. 

What is a Safety School? 

Safety schools, often called “backup schools”, are colleges that, thanks to your test scores and your GPA,  you are likely to be admitted to. Besides, you have also to take into account colleges that are safe financially speaking. You have to find two or three universities that are safe for you. Some that you are certain you will get into both academically and financially. However, you should avoid applying to universities you do not want to apply to. Identify which are the ones you like the most.  

What is a Target School? 

Target schools are those where your academic credentials, that is to say, your GPA, class rank, and SAT, fall within the average of the college you have selected. Let’s say you have a great chance of getting into it, but there are no guarantees. Three or four of the colleges you choose should be target schools. Although your GPA and standardized test scores are the most important thing to consider, there are other factors that universities check before admitting students. For example, your essay, extracurricular activities, or recommendations.

What is a Reach School? 

Reach schools are universities to which it is difficult for you to get into due to your GPA scores. In these colleges, your standardized test scores and your GPA are lower than the average admitted student's. It is not wrong that you decide to apply to two or three of these colleges. 

To conclude, there is not a certain amount of colleges you should or shouldn’t apply to. The ideal decision would be to apply to 8 universities so you have more possibilities. Do not apply to only one university because you are sure you will get in. You never know what will happen. Likewise, avoid applying to too many colleges, let’s say 20 universities. Knowing how many colleges you should apply to is difficult, but you can make a list of the universities that you like the most and categorize them into safe, target, and reach schools. 

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