The College Search

How Many Colleges is Too Many?

Question: I am applying to four safeties, three targets, and five or six reaches. My counselor doesn't want me to apply to that many reaches, but they are all schools I've wanted to apply to for a long time. Are thirteen colleges too many?

Thirteen colleges does seem like a lot, but one thing you didn't tell us is whether financial aid--either need-based or merit-based--will be important to you and your family. If so, in spite of the hefty application fees you'll be paying, sometimes seemingly similar schools can offer strikingly different aid awards, and you may benefit from casting a wide net. Otherwise, not only is your list rather top-heavy with reach colleges, but it also seems weighty with safeties. If a school is truly safe for you, then one or two should suffice.

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