Are you a rising high school senior wondering how many colleges you should be applying to this coming year? Ideally, you’ll only be applying to one college — that’s right, one — because you’ll hopefully apply in the Early round, under an Early Decision or Single Choice Early Action policy. But of course there are some schools that have Early Action policies that are non-restrictive so if your top choice subscribes to this admissions policy, it’s fair game to apply to other school(s) in the Early round. Early Decision applicants to schools like Dartmouth, Brown, UPenn, Cornell, and Columbia (to name a few) and Single Choice Early Action applicants to schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford can also submit applications to any public universities — public universities like the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, or the University of California schools.
We encourage all of our students at Ivy Coach to apply Early. In fact, if students aren’t interested in applying Early Decision or Early Action to a given institution, we’re not interested in working with them because it tells us that they’re not going to do what they can to optimize their case for admission. The odds of earning admission to a highly selective college are so much stronger in the Early round as compared to the Regular Decision round — just check out our compiled Ivy League Statistics. And to those folks who suggest that there actually isn’t an advantage in applying Early, that the Early round only favors recruited athletes and legacies, development cases and underrepresented minorities, we say hogwash. Do recruited athletes earn admission in the Early round? You bet. Do legacies, development cases, and underrepresented minorities? You bet. But even if you don’t fall into any one of these categories, the odds of your getting into your top choice school are oh so much stronger if you commit to them Early. Show your love to your top choice school and they’ll be more likely to show that love right back at you then if you don’t show any love at all by applying Regular Decision.
So how many colleges do most of our students apply to? One or two. We always encourage our students — who always apply Early — to apply to a public university at the same time they submit their Early Decision or Early Action application. And for those students who come to us for the first time as clients subsequent to the Early round, after they were deferred or denied admission, we encourage them to apply to as many schools as possible. You’re allowed to apply to 20 schools through the Common Application. Now when we hear that a student applied to 20 schools, what comes to mind is that they likely cut and pasted essays — demonstrating no particular love for any given school. That’s a terrible strategy in the Regular Decision round. While we encourage students to apply to as many schools as possible in the Regular Decision round, we also tell them not to bother applying to a given institution if they can’t tailor every sentence of, say, a Why College essay to that institution. Indeed, that’s a big part of how we help at Ivy Coach.