Is there a such thing as submitting too many college applications, you ask? There was an article a couple of days ago in “The New York Times” entitled “Applications by the Dozen, as Anxious Seniors Hedge College Bets” written by Ariel Kaminer that we figured we’d bring to the attention of our readers. Featured in the article is a high school senior named Alex Velora who submitted 18 applications way ahead of schedule. Figuring that wasn’t enough, she decided to send in 11 more. That’s right. In all, Ms. Velora submitted 29 applications. So what do you think that we at Ivy Coach have to say to that? It’s good, right? She’s improving her odds of admission by spreading out, by applying to so many schools, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Submitting applications to 29 schools is absolutely absurd.
But we can’t say it any better than a director of college counseling at a school in Texas, Marie Bigham said, as quoted in “The New York Times”: “You can’t be a competitive, strong applicant without demonstrating interest, and you can’t do that at 25 schools.” Ms. Bigham is absolutely right. Think about it like this. You go on 29 dates. How can you possibly keep up with all of the text messaging that ensues — or doesn’t ensue — after your dates? How can you keep track of the biographical information of all of your dates? How can you even remember their names? Quite simply, you can’t. You’re not going to find your Prince Charming by going on 29 dates back to back. That’s just foolish if you ask us.
And the same rule applies to highly selective college admission. Highly selective colleges want students who want them. You can’t possibly write 29 Why College essays that have any specificity about the college. That’s right — that essay about Penn’s beautiful campus cannot be submitted to Yale. Top colleges know when you simply replace the word “Penn” with “Yale.” You’re not fooling anybody. Not even yourself. And how can you visit all of these schools? How can you possibly — convincingly — lead highly selective colleges to believe that they’re really your first choice? You can’t. Ms. Velora made a major mistake and a bigger mistake was having her mistake be featured in “The New York Times.” Now all of the colleges she applied to — all 29 of them — know they’re not particularly special to her. And, needless to say, she’s not special to them.