How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

We at CollegeVine have heard nearly every question there is to ask about college admissions. In fact, after working with thousands of students, we’ve learned which questions are most common, hearing them time and time again from eager aspiring college applicants.

One of the questions we frequently hear is, “How many colleges should I apply to?” This is a great question; we especially like it because it has a concrete answer. Sometimes we hear questions that are harder to pinpoint like, What Is A Good SAT Score? or Should I Go To a Community College?

These questions are great too, but their answers aren’t as clear and depend more upon personal factors. Regarding how many colleges you should apply to, we have a reasonably precise range to aim for. In this post, we’ll explain all about it. Keep reading to learn more.

How Many Colleges Does the Average Student Apply To?

In general, most students apply to 8-12 colleges. This is a good number to aim for, assuming that the applications you submit represent a broad variety of colleges. Usually, you will want to apply to at least two safeties, four targets, and two reaches.

A safety school is a school that you are likely to get into. This generally means that your statistics place you in the top 25% of admitted students. A target school is a college you have a reasonable chance of attending. This means that your statistics place you in the mid-50th percentile of admitted students. Finally, a reach school is one that you’re not likely to get into. These include all highly selective colleges and any colleges at which your statistics place you in the bottom 25% of admitted students.

To learn more about these terms and how to determine whether a specific school is a safety, target, or reach college, check out our post The College List, Decoded: Safety, Target, and Reach Schools.

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The article was written by Kate Sundquist Senior Blogger