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How many colleges should I be applying to?

I have about 4 on my list I believe I have a chance of getting into. Others I don't believe I can get in, or I just don't know of any other colleges. How can I research other colleges, I don't even know where to begin. #college #applying

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Subject: Career question for you

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Peggy’s Answer

Brian, great question. Before choosing colleges to apply to, think about what you want for a career and major. Then, think about what's most important to you in a college, with questions like:

Do I want to stay close to home or go across the country?
Would I prefer a rural, suburban or urban setting?
Am I looking for a small, medium or big school?
Do I care about the professor-to-student ratio?
What am I looking for regarding majors, student organizations or sports teams?
What can I afford? (Are there scholarships I could apply for? Does in-state vs out-of-state tuition matter?)

Once you’ve figured out what you want in a college, use a college search engine to find schools that match your preferences. As you finalize your list, use these tips to compare colleges and select a handful that you want to apply to.

Rather than apply to any you're interested in, it's helpful to narrow your list to those you are willing to invest the time to apply to (often requiring some writing), application fees, and the time to hear back on decisions for admission and/or scholarships.

Here are some great websites for reviewing colleges. Check out a few of these:
1. College Board’s BigFuture -Find colleges by test scores, location, majors, support services and diversity. Also tips on how to apply for financial aid or explore careers.
2. Cappex -Search through thousands of schools, plus you can estimate your chances of admission based on your GPA and admission test scores. You can also use the “Fit Score” to gauge whether a college could be a good match for you.
3. College Confidential - unique in that you get students' personal views on what they like & don't like about the college. You can learn about each school’s acceptance rate, tuition costs and test score
4. Unigo-Answer questions through a college match quiz. Then, Unigo will match you with colleges based on your responses. You can learn about each school, as well as read unbiased student reviews. It also helps you find scholarships.
5. Peterson’s - a good starting point, with pre-made lists of schools categorized by major or field. You can also use the site’s search function to narrow your results by major, location or another keyword.

Wishing you the best in your journey!
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EmilyAnn’s Answer

It isn't so much about the number of schools you apply to as it is about the range. You should be applying to some safety schools where you are very confident about getting in (so maybe 85-95% confidence), some that are ideal but realistic (maybe 50-80% confidence), and then some reaches which you are unlikely to get into but are worth a shot. As long as you get the right balance, you will be setting yourself up to get into some good colleges with some as backups if you don't get into your ideal schools.

I applied to 12 schools and (somehow) hit the nail on the head (probably because of my dad's help). I got into 5, waitlisted at 2, and rejected from 5. There isn't anything wrong with applying to less or more schools, it really just depends on what schools you're interested in. Start by picking a few things you're looking for in a school (maybe it's a program they offer, the environment/setting, the community, price, activities, etc). Then learn as much about the school as you can, write down some pros and cons, and then start looking at similar schools and keep going that way.

If you're not sure how to figure out your chances of getting in somewhere, you can usually find some statistics on the acceptance rate for your GPA/SAT scores. I remember my high school used a site called Naviance, where you can see the stats on people from your school who were accepted, waitlisted, and rejected, and where you lie. Getting accepted or rejected anywhere is never guaranteed, but you can make educated guesses. Hope this helps anyone still wondering!!
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Simeon’s Answer

Four colleges is a pretty good place to be at with number of applications. The amount of research necessary to seriously consider many more colleges is a little overwhelming and can honestly start to get counterproductive. Make sure that you choose four options that aren't too similar to each other so you can get a better feel for the type of university that's a better fit for you. Apply for the financial scholarships for all four of the universities and see which ones give you the best offering. I applied to four colleges for undergrad and it worked pretty well for me in terms of providing options while maintaining decision clarity.
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Melissa’s Answer

Hi Brian, do you have an idea what you want to major in? Other factors that can be consideration are location (ie. do you have a preference to be on east coast, etc) and tuition cost.

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