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How many graduate programs should one apply to?

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Stephanie’s Answer

I would apply to several types of schools to ensure you're exploring all of your options in terms of program type, school size, school reputation, scholarship availability, job market after college, etc. This will ensure you have multiple options to choose from, and don't feel forced to spend a significant amount of time and money in a graduate program that may not be the best fit for you.

If you have several interest areas, it might make sense to apply to several different types of programs. For instance applying to a Masters of English or a Masters of Communications could be similar but different and still allow for similar opportunities for you. Likewise, a PhD in Marketing or an MBA could also be potential graduate school paths that would allow for similar types of career opportunities after graduate school.

I wouldn't recommend applying to Med school and Law school or something very different because it's likely you aren't really sure what you want to do, and may not be as focused as you need to be. If you're still really unsure about what type of program you want to go into, it likely makes sense to work for awhile in the industry to get a better understanding of what a career would be in that industry. The last thing you want to do is apply to a program just because you can get in, if you have no interest in actually pursuing that career path after graduate school. The programs are often expensive and time consuming, so it's a little harder to just start fresh in a completely different field if you're coming out of graduate school with debt. Good luck!

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Gary’s Answer

Great question, this is something I know nothing about to be honest but I did a quick online search and found this for you:

Most people apply to somewhere between three and eight graduate schools, with five being the average number of applications submitted. Your preliminary research on graduate schools should give you an idea of the number of applications received versus the number of students accepted by each graduate school.
How many graduate schools should I apply to? | UCSB Career Services

Good luck! :)

Thanks for your help! Debra Z.