Are You Over Applying to Colleges?

A September study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) shows that college-bound students are applying to a larger number of schools than ever before.

A quarter of freshmen who enrolled in college in fall 2010 applied to seven or more schools, NACAC found in its 2011 State of College Admission report, and 77 percent of students applied to at least three schools.

The combination of the current economy with ever-growing peer competition may partly explain why students are applying willy-nilly to any school that comes on their radar. The fact that the Common Application and the Universal College Application help streamline the application process is also a big factor.

But, is applying to a bunch of colleges–even ones that you’re not quite serious about– actually helpful?

Overflowing with applications, college admissions are taking extra steps to determine an applicant’s true interest in the school they applied to. Did they make a campus visit? Did they go on a tour? Did they attend a Q&A session, sign up for the newsletters, interact with admissions counselors, etc. If you’re spread too thin, there’s no way you can actually do all these things at 15 college campuses. Even half that is a hard feat .

With college admissions privy to the fact that you are most likely not only applying to their school, applying to a whole bunch of schools might not be the right direction to take. Talk to your college counselor or a teacher about what your goals are and where you see yourself. Make a couple campus visits. Sign up for an interview. Chat it up with an alum. One of the easiest ways to get familiar with a college is through social media. Schools make it super easy for students to access information by adding social media to the mix: 91 percent of schools choose to promote their schools via social networking sites, the NACAC study reports.

Applying to colleges that are actually schools you would want to attend is more important than setting the record in your senior class for sending out the most college applications.

How many schools are you applying to? How many schools do you think is over-applying? Leave a comment below!

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