College Application: Are You Making This Common Mistake?

Last updated on November 15, 2017

High school seniors are submitting too many college applications. Students are trying to apply to far too many colleges, including colleges that students may not even want to attend. This is really ludicrous.

The Rise of Online Applications

So why have college applications skyrocketed in recent years? Basically, we have seen an increase in the number of college applications because it is much easier to apply these days. Online college applications have changed the landscape of college admissions because they make it very simple to apply to multiple schools.

In particular, many students will submit too many college applications through the Common Application or the Universal College Application because it is so easy to add another college to the list.

Easy to Apply

A second reason why more students apply to more colleges is because some colleges actively encourage them to do so. In recent years, over 100 colleges have started to recruit high school students to submit shortcut applications. These applications often don’t require the dreaded college essay and, in many cases, the fees are waived. These are often referred to as “fast apps” or“snap apps.”

Why would these colleges do such intense marketing? Many of these colleges are pricey private schools worried about finding enough students to fill their freshmen classes with students who can afford the tuition. The other reason why schools encourage students to apply is that a jump in applicants can boost the rankings of a college in the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

What Should I Do?

It makes more sense to spend some time reflecting on what you want in your college and then doing targeted research to determine which schools best match your interests. You should do due diligence on schools during the research phase of the college application process and really narrow down your list to places where you could see yourself.

And no student should apply to colleges to which they have no interest in attending. Not only is it a waste of time and money, but also it is unethical. You might be snagging a spot from someone who really does want to attend that college.

There is also the financial aspect of college applications. Typical fees range from $40 to $100 per college. To save money and time, it is much better to narrow down your list of college applications at the beginning of the process and only apply to colleges that you would seriously like to attend.

It’s recommended to limit your applications to 6-8 total.