A lot of people don’t like to waste their time applying to reach schools because they only want to invest their time and energy into schools that they believe will accept them. Of course, applying to colleges does require a lot of time and energy, but it also requires a lot of emotional energy – and this is what really discourages a lot of students. When you put so much of yourself into your college applications, it can be a huge blow to your ego to read multiple rejection letters. Still, you never know whether or not you might qualify for one of your dream schools, so you don’t want to give up hope before you’ve even tried. If you want to know how many reach schools you should apply to, you should first answer a few questions for yourself.
How Far are You Reaching?
It’s important to know how far you are reaching before you start applying for multiple reach schools. If you meet the GPA requirements but not the SAT requirements, or vice versa, then it might not be so much of a reach. However, if you don’t meet either requirement by a long shot, then it might be too far of a reach. In general, you don’t want to apply to more than one school which is a very far reach, but you should definitely apply to at least 2-3 schools that are short reaches.
How Many Match Schools are You Applying to?
Then again, the number of reach schools you apply to also depends on the number of match schools you’re applying to. A match school is one in which you fall well within the academic credentials required. Ideally, it’s good to find at least 5-6 match schools with programs that appeal to you. You want to make sure that you are not just applying because you think you will get in, but you should have genuine interest in attending all of these schools.
How Many Safety Schools are You Applying to?
The number of reach schools you apply to should be about equal to the number of safety schools you apply to. This way, you will have a decent idea of how far you reached and how much safety you need. In the event that you don’t get into any of your match schools, you want to be sure that you have options with your safety schools. And in the more likely event that you do get into a few match schools, your acceptance rate should give you an idea of what kinds of challenges you’re ready for.
How Many Schools can You Afford to Apply to?
The final determining factor is going to be based on how many schools you can actually afford to apply to. For some people, Wake Forest University might be a reach school and for others it might be a safety school. Either way, you want to be sure you include equal numbers of safety and reach schools, but the majority of your applications should go to match schools.