How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?
At a young age, the pressure to find a life goal, choose a college, and a career hits. People consistently ask what you want to be, where you’re going to college, are you getting your master’s? Don’t get me wrong, an education is extremely important. Even if you think you don’t need a degree, somewhere down the line, it will become necessary. The pressure, however, isn’t good and can make college seem undesirable.
A question I got asked a lot when I was in high school was how many colleges I planned on applying to. I didn’t know. In my head I had one college in mind because that’s where all of my friends were going. Well, guess what? I didn’t get in to that one college I applied to and had to immediately fill out more applications before the deadlines hit. It’s okay to want to go somewhere so bad that no other place is an option, however, applying to more than one school is safe and increases the chances of you getting in somewhere; this is specifically for students whose grades are below average.
So, how many colleges should you apply to? My answer: as many as possible. Colleges do have application fees, but some of them can be waived. Applying to several schools doesn’t have to be expensive. The effort and investment will be worth it at the end. I recommend doing as much research as you can to find a college that’s right for you. Apply to your favorites first and then go ahead and apply to as many more as you’d like.
It is important that you be reasonable about what universities you apply to. If you can’t afford to go out of state, don’t apply to that fancy university halfway across the country or that private college in Europe. Also, don’t be excessive. What I mean is, apply to as many colleges as you can, but make sure they’re colleges or universities you will actually be okay attending. Don’t apply to a college you know you will not attend. Think of it like applying for a job. When you’re looking for a new job, would you submit an application for a position you know you don’t want or a job that you know will make you unhappy? Of course not!
In addition to applying to a four-year university, I would also look into applying to community colleges in your area. Community colleges typically have a great acceptance rate and are usually not as expensive. The only downfall is that you can’t complete a four-year degree at a community college. The highest degree level you can achieve at a community college, or two-year college, is an associate’s degree or certificate. If you go to a community college, and plan on getting your bachelor’s, just be aware that you will eventually have to apply to a four-year university to complete your degree.
Don’t let the pressure of submitting college applications scare you. Try your best to make good grades, do your research, and apply to the schools of your choice. You’re building your future and should not take choosing a school lightly, however, any education is better than no education at all.