Are you applying to multiple schools? Check out some tips!

Even if you are interested in attending a particular school and have your heart set on that school, it is a good idea to leave your options open and apply to several different schools. While there is no right answer as to how many colleges to which you should apply, many people believe six or seven is a good target number. Of course, school guidance counselors may tell you about students who applied to 20 or more schools in order to increase their chance of acceptance.

Developing a List

It is a good idea to choose 10-15 schools that you might wish to attend. From here you want to conduct some research, visit the various campuses and speak with the students who attend the school. The purpose of the campus visits is to get a feel for the school and discover which ones fit within the scope of your personality, interests, and goals for your future. Avoid choosing a school based on its reputation or because your friends are attending that school.

The Selection Process

It is a good idea to select different schools within three main categories:

• Reach Schools are those that are very selective about which students they admit. Some of the schools you might classify in this category include Harvard, Yale and Stanford. This classification also says that your test scores and academic record fall below the average for these colleges.

• Match Schools are those with profiles that indicate your academic record and test scores are within the average for these schools. Based on the school's profile you have a good chance of admission. This does not mean you are guaranteed admission since many factors are involved in the admissions process.

• Safety Schools are those whose profiles show your academic record and test scores are substantially higher than average. Keep in mind that extremely selective schools such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford are never safety schools regardless of your test scores.

You should apply to some colleges in each of these categories in order to increase your chances of admissions.

Averages and the Process of Elimination

While it may seem if you apply to 15 or more reach schools you stand a better chance for acceptance, but this is not always the case. There are some factors that may prevent students from applying to a substantial number of selective school including higher application fees and the cost of paying for additional score reporting such as AP, ACT and SAT. In addition the applications are very time-consuming and may take several hours for a student to complete. When you multiply that by 15 or more, you can see how it may not be possible for a student to devote that much time to apply for many reach schools.

What you really want to accomplish during your research and while you are visiting the campuses is to find those schools where you will be happy. You want to feel comfortable attending a particular college and confident it offers everything you need to meet your career goals.

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