How Many Colleges Are Worth Applying To?

How Many Colleges Are Worth Applying To?

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If you’ve researched the best graduate programs in your field, but you still have a lengthy list of options, you may be wondering exactly how many of these programs you actually have to apply for. Some students will apply to ten or more schools, while others seem to be satisfied with just one or two. While there’s no magic number, there are a few ways to determine what’s best for you and your education goals.

Narrow your options based on location.

This is where you’ll be spending the next several months or years of your life, so it’s important that you like both the college and the surrounding area. Is the school as big or as small as you’d like it to be? Are you in the right type of setting, whether that’s urban or rural? Are you close enough to home, or are you far enough away?

Consider the application cost.

Application fees can cost upwards of $50, sometimes into the hundreds. Paying $50 or $100 for a college you’re dying to go to may be worth it, but paying $300 for a college that you’re not so sure about may not be. If you can’t afford the fee no matter how low it is, call the Admissions Office to ask for the fee to be waived. The school is interested in getting you as a student, because then they’ll get your tuition; waiving a $100 fee isn’t a huge deal to them.

Apply to a minimum of three programs.

One of these should be a safety school, meaning that you’re pretty certain you’ll be accepted. Another should be a school that you’ll probably get into, while the third can be one that you wish would accept you, but it’s not a sure thing. The idea is to get into at least one program so that your education dreams aren’t complete thwarted. You shouldn’t push away schools that are quick to accept students and you also shouldn’t be afraid to reach for a school that’s more difficult to get into.

From the professors you’ll be studying and working under to the location of the campus, there are a number of things to take into consideration when picking a graduate program. If you’re on the fence about a few schools, it may be best to focus on the ones you’re sure about and return to the other schools as a backup plan.

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Categories: College Planning