Should College Applicants Reveal to Admissions Counselors all of the Schools They are Applying to?

Applying to college is one of the most exciting moments in your life. Even if you have a dream school that you always wanted to attend, you should apply to more than one college. Admissions counselors call these safety or back up schools. You never know if your dream school will admit you, and this increases your chances of getting an acceptance letter. You generally do not need to tell the admissions departments at different schools that you applied to other colleges unless you applied for early decision.

What is Early Decision?

Early decision, sometimes called early acceptance, is a program that lets you apply earlier in the year and find out if the college accepted you before your peers. While a college might have an application deadline in January or February, those that offer early acceptance will require that you complete the application near the end of November or the beginning of December. You’ll get your letter at the same time that other students finish their applications. Applying earlier takes some of the weight off your shoulders and lets you enjoy more of your senior year.

Related resource: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit

What If You Do Not Tell Counselors?

Most colleges that offer early decision or early acceptance require that you sign a contract or document that states you will not apply for early admission to any other school. This shows the college that you are serious about attending that campus and that you worked hard on your application. If the college finds out that you applied to another school early, it can withdraw your acceptance and even reject your application outright. You’ll then need to submit a new application prior to the deadline later in the year.

What Admissions Boards Look For

When applying to college, you need to think about what admissions boards look for in prospective students. These boards consist of faculty members who are responsible for processing and reviewing each application to determine if a student should receive an acceptance letter. The Washington Post interviewed a series of counselors and found that they look for students who can contribute something to the campus as a whole and students who express themselves clearly on paper. Counselors also recommend that students use their applications as a way to explain any poor grades on their transcripts or other issues that might prevent them from getting into college.

Keeping Information Quiet

If you apply to more than one college for traditional or regular admission, you are under no obligation to tell each school that you applied to others. Most colleges realize that students apply to multiple schools. Keeping that information to yourself may also help you in the long run. Each college can send you a financial aid letter that tells you how much aid you’ll get during your freshmen year. You can use that information to see which college will offer the most help and which school will cost the least. Revealing that you applied to multiple schools may make some colleges feel like you care less about attending their campuses.

Applying to more than one college campus increases your chances of actually getting into college. Most schools expect that students will apply to other campuses and won’t look down on you. While applying to college early decision though, you can usually only apply to one school.