This year will be another record-high year for applications. In conjunction with that it has also marked a banner year for wait-list and denials of competitive students. So, is the answer to send more applications, and does that increase your chances of getting an admit letter? It might. But it will cost you.
The average student in our area is applying to 10-12 schools and can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 in application fees. That doesn’t include sending transcripts and test scores, with their associated fees, required by many colleges.
First, every school on your list should be one that you are happy and excited to attend. If you’re feeling disappointed over an admit letter from a “safety school,” that school has no room on your college list, so why pay for it?
Second, apply to schools for you! Be discerning and apply to them because you want them, not because your friends are applying or because there’s no essay. At the same time, don’t apply to UC’s or Cal State’s that don’t suit your program needs or interests.
Third, take advantage of the standardized test scores you can send for free. Though many are hesitant to send scores before they see them, schools really are looking for your best score. We recommend that you do this at the larger state schools if any are on your list, though maybe not the highly selective private schools. If you can save $48 in test fees, why not do it?
Fourth, consider applying Early Decision. If you know you’d be really, truly happy at a particular school, and they offer an Early Decision plan, send that application. Then send other applications that have a deadline prior to your “hear by” date, holding back on other submissions until you know about your ED decision. Have those apps ready to go, but don’t pay for them until you know you have to!
Collecting a list of college acceptance letters doesn’t really make you special, but it can make your poor, so be selective about where you apply!