The College Application Process is Alive and Well at Our House

Part 3: College Visits with My Son: Applications Continue; College Visits

The college application process is in full-swing

swing wong parkWith two applications submitted, and one of them already processed and an offer of admission received, the college application process is in full-swing.

Applying to colleges is becoming an easier, more familiar process for my son. That’s one of the advantages of applying early to college whether the application type is Early Decision, Early Action, or Rolling Admission. The more familiar your student is with college applications and the application process, the easier it is to reach completion.

With “application season” gaining momentum, we’ve backed off from visiting colleges for a while, though we do plan to visit at least one more before the end of the year. In 2016, we’ll make the transition  to the “admitted student visit.”

How many colleges should a student apply to?

In my years working of working in college admissions, it was not uncommon for students to apply to five or more colleges. According to The College Board’s web site, five to eight is normal, but in 2014 the New York times reported a story about a student who applied to 18 colleges and sited other students who applied to more than 50 colleges. (That’s a lot of application fees!)

There is no magic number, but five to eight applications are usually enough to ensure that a student is accepted into a suitable institution (depending, of course, on the individual student’s record and circumstances). This number should be made up of a combination of “safety,” “probable” and “reach” colleges. –The College Board

At the moment, my son has five colleges on his list; he’s familiar with each of these schools and has visited all but one. I’ve encouraged him to apply to at least once school that he has not visited but, through research, feels it would be a good fit. I’m also going to suggest he apply to one “reach” school.

A “reach” or “dream” school is defined by the Princeton Review as “One where your academic credentials fall in the lower end, or even below, the school’s average range for the cohort of students accepted the previous year. “

As a parent of a college-bound senior, I’m happy that he’ll have the bulk of his applications submitted before Thanksgiving. That should make the end of the semester crunch a bit lighter for him and the holidays less stressful for everyone.

How’s application season going at your house? Do you have questions or comments to share? Feel free to post on Smart College Visit’s Facebook page.

smart college visit on facebook