How Many Colleges Should I Apply To? (Complete Guide)

How many colleges should I apply to? What is the appropriate number?

There is a large competition among the students and the struggle to get into dream colleges. The above question often haunts students when they apply for the applications for college admissions. 

There is no specified number. However, it is recommended that students must apply to at least 12 to 15 colleges. 

In the following article, I have mentioned details about the right number of colleges that one must apply to. I have also mentioned some tips and hacks that you can consider while applying for college. 

What Is The Right Number Of Colleges?

There is no right answer to this. However, it is advised by the experts that you can apply to a minimum of 10 to 12 colleges. 

There is no upper limit; you can apply to as many colleges as you wish to apply to. You can stay on the safe side and apply to all the colleges you wish to attend. 

 How Many Colleges Should I Apply To - Number Of College

Make a point to create a proper list of all the dream colleges you aim to get enrolled in. You can also check the criterion required to get into those colleges beforehand. This will help you to grab the best deals and get into the college you aim at.

Your College Preferences

Researching is the key to finding the colleges that are best suitable for you. All you need to do is check out the official websites of the college you aim to get admitted to. You can also enquire from the students that are studying at the colleges. You can take suggestions and advice from your elders and experienced people in contact. 

Students should figure out the colleges and prepare a list that fulfills their financial, social, and academic needs. This applies to students with physical and learning disabilities. You will have to make sure the campus environment suits your needs. 

You will also have to consider the type of degree you wish to study. You have a wide range to choose from an associate degree that will require two years of college and a bachelor’s degree that will take up to 4 to 5 years.  

Once you are done researching, make a list of the colleges that are your dream colleges as well as they fulfill your needs. 

Check Out The Admission Requirements Of The Colleges

The top colleges are less likely to accept large numbers of students. This is a major reason that most students are unable to get into their dream college. Hence, while you apply for the college, check out their percentile admission criterion and compare it with yours. 

Think practically about all the considerations while applying to the colleges you are interested in. A college that fulfills all your needs is a great option. This will help you to stay motivated to learn and excel at your studies. 

Some students tend to add just one college as their safety college or backup college. Remember to add more than three safety colleges. This will always provide you with a backup if you fail to get admitted into your dream college. 

Financial Considerations

While Searching for a good college and before applying to the colleges, make a point to check out your budget. Make a point to check if the college fees and miscellaneous fees fit your budget. 

Students must prefer to get admitted into the colleges that best fit their needs. This will help you to avoid creating chaos and save you from unwanted loan issues. 

How To Manage Your College Applications

When answering the question, “How many colleges should you apply to?” the application fees play a significant role. What is your budget for filling out the application forms? 

For each college application, you will have to pay application fees and additional fees to send your entrance exam score. 

The application fees vary from college to college. The average application fee, according to US News, is reported to be $45. However, some colleges tend to charge $100 for their application fees. 

On the other hand, SAT and ACT allow students to send their scores to 4 colleges for free. Later you will be charged $ 12 to send SAT scores to the colleges and $16 to send ACT scores to the colleges. 

Carefully consider the budget of your college applications. Also, think about how many colleges you are willing to apply to. 

Tips For Managing Your College Application

Managing your college application and tracking all your dates and other details may get complicated. Let us take a look at some tips that will help you manage all your applications. 

Managing Your College Application
  1. The most important thing is to manage all your dates. Make a note of the end dates of the applications and fill them out before the deadline. You can also make sure to track them with the help of the calendar. 
  1. Make sure to write appropriate and structured essays in all your applications. Most of the applications will have different essay topics. You will have to repurpose your essays and the content accordingly. 
  1. Find out the common apps that will help you to fill all your essays and keep you updated with the deadlines and the lists. 

Take Actions Early

Applying to your colleges early and completing the college application as early as possible is the best practice. 

Many colleges provide early applicants with various benefits during the admission process. Moreover, the acceptance rates of the students ts that have applied early tend to be higher. 

Applying early to colleges helps the students to make the final decision by weighing all the provided options properly. You will also get a chance to dig into details about scholarships and financial aid available in different colleges.

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Wrapping Up: How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

That’s all about the number of colleges you should apply to. 

I would personally recommend applying to at least 15 colleges. It would surely help you in the long run.  

While filling out your college application, make a note that you are careful with all the details that you are supposed to fill in. Always cross-check all the details that you have filled in. 

I hope that the above article has helped you to understand all the required details regarding the number of colleges you can apply to. 


How many colleges are too many to apply to?

It is recommended that the students must apply to approximately 12 to 15 colleges in a year. There is still no security that you will be admitted to your dream college as the admission criterion varies from year to year and from time to time. 

Is 12 a good number of colleges to apply to?

Students must try to apply to around 12 to 15 colleges. The college admission criterion is affected by various factors. However, applying to 12 colleges is surely a good number. 

Is applying to 22 colleges too much?

While you apply to colleges for your higher studies, there’s nothing like applying to too many colleges. However, it is suggested that students must apply to a minimum of 12 to 15 colleges. 

How many colleges should a top student apply to?

The top students who have scored well in their exams must apply to at least ten to 12 colleges that they consider to be their dream colleges. 

Ryan Harris

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