Should You Apply to Multiple Schools?
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Elias Miller and Moriah Adeghe in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- Consider the Research Required
- Will You Be Able to Reuse Applications or Essays?
- How Many Schools Are Too Many?
- The Drawbacks of Applying to Too Many Schools
Consider the Research Required
When applying to upwards of 20 schools, it can be hard to demonstrate interest in each school. If you are considering applying to a lot of schools, take into account the amount of research that each school will require.
With each application, you want to put your best foot forward, so take a moment to determine the number of applications you can confidently balance. Showing interest in a school requires research into the student life, departments, and different classes. This amount of research can take a lot of time. However, large public universities require less research to demonstrate interest and often don’t require any type of supplemental essays. Keep this in mind when you are choosing the schools you are applying to.
Will You Be Able to Reuse Applications or Essays?
A great way to increase the number of schools you are applying to without having to write more applications is by applying to the University of California schools. These schools, like UC Davis, UCLA, and UC Berkeley, all fall under the same application, so you can reuse your application materials.
If you want to try and reuse your essays for colleges that don’t fall under the same application, this can be difficult. To show your interest in an essay, you need to include specific details about that university. While you can reuse the structure of your essay, the facts don’t usually transfer from school to school. Another thing to consider is the essay topic. Universities like to make their own prompts that ask a question unique to their college. If this is the case with your school’s application, you won’t be able to reuse these essays when applying to other schools.
How Many Schools Are Too Many?
Answering this question can be confusing, but you need to ask yourself why you’re applying to each college. If your parents are pushing you to apply to all of these extra schools then you probably won’t be writing these applications to the best of your ability. Of course, you want to apply to enough schools to secure an acceptance, but you can overdo the amount. The last thing you want is to be rejected or waitlisted from your dream school because you were too focused on applying to many different schools rather than focusing your attention on the schools you actually wanted to attend.
We recommend applying to anywhere from 8 to 12 schools. If you are applying to the UC system then you might be able to increase this number, but the total number of individual applications shouldn’t be anywhere above 15 applications. Maxing out at 15 ensures that you can still put your focus and energy into those schools.
The Drawbacks of Applying to Too Many Schools
College applications are a very hectic period of your life. You have to make this important decision of where to apply to university, complete the applications, write the essays, and even take your final attempt at the ACT and SAT. You do all of this while still balancing your school work. This is a lot for anyone to handle, but when you increase the number of applications you have to write to 20+, you are putting a lot of stress on yourself. Budgeting your time to complete everything on your plate will be a huge battle.
A great way to reduce stress during this period is by completing some of your essays the summer before your senior year. You can begin brainstorming essay topics and even writing some of the prompts if you know the college you’re applying to is including that prompt for your application year.