How Many Schools Should You Apply To?

Applying to CollegeHow many schools should you apply to if you’re planning on going to college? Since your choice of school will impact your future career, this is an important question. According to Shmoop, there are three different types of schools. While there may be some exceptions, you should probably plan on applying to one or two schools in each category.

Reach Schools

A reach school is one that you shouldn’t plan on being accepted to. It’s usually a college that you’d love to go to and would pick in an instant if you get accepted; however, you may not have the right qualifications to get accepted or be in a good enough financial situation to afford it. There’s nothing wrong with applying to reach schools. In fact, it’s a good idea to apply to one or two. Just remember that even if you don’t have the greatest chance of being accepted, you should still pick a school that’s within the realm of possibility. For instance, if you have a 2.5 GPA and average SAT scores, don’t waste your time applying to Harvard. When thinking about how many schools you should apply to, it’s okay to include a couple of reasonable reach schools, but you should really focus your attention on target and safety schools.

Target Schools

Target schools, or match schools, are colleges or universities that you’re pretty confident about – both in terms of getting accepted and actually paying for them. While you shouldn’t have any trouble getting accepted to these schools, you should apply to at least two. This is because qualified students can still occasionally get rejected from match schools. Even if you get into all of your target schools, you may not be offered as much financial aid as you were expecting. Applying to a couple of target colleges should ensure that you’ll have somewhere to go in the fall if you don’t get into your reach schools. If you’re still wondering how many schools you should apply to, think about how many colleges that you’re truly excited about. Before you apply to a match school, make sure that you’d be happy to go there.

Safety Schools

As long as you’re happy with your choice, you only need to apply to one safety school. A safety college is one that you’re absolutely sure that you’ll get accepted to and will be able to afford. If your dream school also happens to be a safety school, you shouldn’t even have to worry about how many schools you should apply to. A safety school should offer automatic acceptance for students with your grades, scores and other qualifications. It should also either have a low cost of attendance or offer enough guaranteed financial aid so that you don’t have to worry about paying for school. Yes, you may still have to take out loans, but the total cost should be less than the total amount of aid – scholarships, loans, grants and help from parents – that you know that you qualify for.

Related Resource: Types of Nursing Degrees

When asking how many schools you should apply to, it’s important to know that there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. The number of colleges that you apply to is up to you, so make sure to do your research and stay realistic.