At this point, you’re probably wondering: how many colleges should I apply to? And how many reach schools should I apply to?
Let’s start with the first question: College counselors and admissions officers suggest students apply to 5-8 colleges. That said, ambitious students often apply to 8-12 colleges, with a couple of extra reach schools thrown in for good measure.
As a general rule, one third of the colleges on your list should be safety schools, one third should be target schools, and one third should be reach schools. So, if you’re applying to nine colleges, three should be safety schools, three should be target schools, and three should be reach schools.
But remember, these are guidelines. So while you should keep this general concept in mind, you don’t need to follow this formula exactly. In fact, most college counselors recommend that you apply to two to three safety schools, three to four target schools, and two to three reach schools.
How Many Reach Schools Should You Apply To?
Time and money are the two most important factors to consider when deciding how many reach schools to apply to. If you have unlimited time and money, you can apply to as many reach schools as you want. For most students, though, this isn’t a practical option.
College applications are time-consuming. Especially if they require lots of supplemental essays or do not use the CommonApp. It’s also expensive. Even if you qualify for application fee waivers, there are lots of costs to consider, including the cost of sending official transcripts and test scores.
So, once you come up with your list of reach schools, ask yourself if you have the time and money to apply to all of the schools on your list. And remember, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed during college application season, it’s better to sacrifice applying to a reach school, rather than a target or safety school.