My neice recently graduated from High School and wanted to major in a particular field: she want to be a social worker who works with individuals with disabilities. There were only so many schools she found in her research that supported that major and she applied to all of them. My point: if you are going for a specialized degree you may find it beneficial to apply to several schools because speciality degrees can only support so many students in the program. If you have one particular school in mind I would suggest applying to it, but it may be a good idea to have two or three others as plans "b", "c", and "d" in case your first choice does not pan out. Best of luck to you!!
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. If there is, however, one school at the top of your list that you KNOW you would attend if you got in, think about doing Early Decision. This way, if you get in, you don't have to apply anywhere else, but if you don't, you still have time to apply other places. Just know that this is binding, but you can look at doing Early Action too (which has similar benefits but non-binding).
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!!
- reach schools
- at level schools
- safety schools
With that you will be able to compare different financial packages and diversify the risk.