The Ivy Coach Daily

December 10, 2021

Students Applying to 20 Plus Colleges

A piece up on Business Insider focuses on how students are applying to more colleges than ever before.

Over the last near three full decades, do you know how many colleges most of our students at Ivy Coach end up applying to? Seven? Eight? Guess again. No, not 20. Certainly not 25. The answer? Just a few, sometimes only one. And why? Because over the last near three full decades, 93% of Ivy Coach’s students have earned admission to their first choice college — which they so often apply to in the Early round. Now, do they also often apply to a top public university in the Early round, like the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, or the University of California schools? They sure do since all of our nation’s top private universities — irrespective of their Early policies — allow students to apply to public schools as well. Do our students sometimes apply to private schools with non-restrictive Early Action policies, like the University of Chicago or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, if our students are applying Early Decision to the likes of the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Brown University, or Columbia University? You bet. But you get the idea. Our students at Ivy Coach so rarely have to apply to 20+ schools.

So when we read a quote from a private college counselor up in a Business Insider piece entitled “Wealthy high schoolers are upping their application game to 25 colleges this year. It’s setting up a big payday for schools while leaving lower-income students behind.,” “Christopher Rim, founder and CEO of Command Education in New York, told CNBC that while students were applying to 12 to 15 colleges pre-pandemic, now that range has jumped to 20 to 25 schools,” we rolled our eyes once, twice, and a third time for good measure. For a student to apply to 25 colleges, they would likely have to use all 20 college slots on The Common Application. In addition, they’d have to apply to schools on The Coalition Application or fill out applications that are not Common App. subscribers like the UC schools, MIT, Georgetown, the University of Texas at Austin, and/or others.

Now do a lot of college applicants actually do this? Well, if you read this piece up on Business Insider and take the words of the private college counselor quoted in the piece as the gospel, you’d think just about every student is submitting 20-25 college applications. But this simply isn’t the case. Now, don’t get us wrong, if a student doesn’t get into their Early school, they should apply to as many schools as they can — so long as they are able to devote careful attention to each specific application. So often, students who apply to 20+ colleges cut and paste their essays and, no, they’re not fooling admissions officers at Columbia when they say they want to go to Columbia because they want to go to school in a vibrant city. That same sentence can work for the Why NYU essay or the Why UChicago essay. Our students at Ivy Coach prepare applications to schools for the Regular Decision round in the worst case scenario they don’t earn admission in the Early round. Our hope, of course, is that these applications they prepare over the summer months before senior year will be a complete and utter waste because they earn admission to their Early school, but we just never want to take that chance. We never want them completing applications in December in that worst case scenario they don’t earn admission in mid-December to their Early school. We want those applications ready to go.

So are students applying to more colleges than ever before in 2021? Maybe. But are these students tailoring all of their applications to the given institutions? If they’re applying to 25 schools, our bet is no.

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