How Many Colleges Should Your College Bound Teen Apply To

Exactly How Many Colleges Should Your College Bound Teen Apply To?

Posted on Posted in Blog, College Bound Tips

Exactly How Many Colleges Should Your College Bound Teen Apply To?

If your teen had a choice to live anywhere in the world, where would they go? Mine would say Italy. Not quite sure why, but that’s where her head is right now.  Never mind that she does not speak a word of Italian, nor do we know anyone who has ever even set foot in Italy.  Yet, this is where she is now planning to spend her adult days.  Go figure.
I’ve learned to choose my battles when it comes to being rational with the resident teen.  While I will let her go on and on about whether or not her father and I will visit her two to three times a year while she lives in Italy, there are other times when I have to say, stop… wait…that ain’t going down like that.  And choosing a college will definitely be one of those times.
Our teen’s college choices are based on colleges she’s heard about from friends and family and college banners seen outside of the guidance office.  She wants to go here and there – as long as here and there happens to be out of the state.  Is the school considered to be top notch in the major she has her sights set on? She doesn’t know.  Does it matter to her whether the cost of her desired schools will incur her parents an in-state or out-of-state tuition? Of course not.  Somehow we will have to try to make her understand that college choice is less about making a decision like a kid in a candy store and more about whether or not to take the blue or red pill.  And we plan to start this lesson when it comes time to complete college applications.
We will allow her to apply to no less than four colleges and no more than seven. 
The College Board suggests that when applying for colleges, choose at least:
  • One safety: Where your teen has more than enough credentials to get in. 
  • Two good fits: Where your teen's credentials are equally matched with the most recently admitted freshman class. You're pretty sure they will get in, but it's not a definite.
  • One reach: Where the most recently admitted freshman class'  credentials out match your a bit, but why not apply and see what happens. 
Four is a good number as it’s a reasonable amount of schools that we will have the time to visit and fully research. Plus, although the average college application fee is $40, each school is different and the fee can be as high as $90!
I know our teen has big college dreams and we support her college outlook – realistically that is. We will probably end up bursting her little college bubble.  Before we shell out any college application fees she will have to understand that buckling down and studying is required if she wants any chance of getting into some of the colleges that she really wants to attend.  Some of the other colleges that she swears she will never apply to she may have to submit an application.  That’s just the way college applying goes, at least for us anyway.



How many colleges will your college bound scholar apply to?




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