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Don’t place limits on your college applications

Mattheau Faught

One of the hardest parts of figuring out which four-year universities to apply to is balancing everything. Strategically choosing how many safety and reach schools to apply to is a difficult challenge. Another major decision is deciding whether to lock into a school through an early decision, which often has a higher acceptance, or risk it with regular action, but have more time to decide where to go. 

Attempting this complex balancing act resulted in me applying to 12 different schools. That may sound like a lot, but it isn’t something I have come to regret.

The primary reason I applied to so many schools is that I had no true dream school. For students in this situation, I recommend taking a more scattershot approach. This allows you to cast a wide net and, hopefully, get into at least a few schools that you would be happy to attend. 

The one drawback is that this approach is quite time-consuming, and application fees can add up. But even if there is a certain dream school in mind, don’t be dissuaded from applying to more than may have originally seemed necessary. By applying to more schools it helps make sure that there is some form of a safety net to fall back on should things not go as hoped. 

Another thing to remember is to look into nonprofit private colleges. While they may appear to be very expensive, they often offer good financial aid, especially if you’re not well off financially. 

The main downside of this is that these schools often have lower acceptance rates, making it seem even more like a gamble whether you will get in or not. 

Don’t be afraid to potentially go out of state. This can be very daunting for many, but being open to this creates many more avenues that would otherwise be closed. Do be aware, though, that the cost of attending public schools out of your home state tends to be higher than in-state rates and with less financial aid.

The hardest part of the whole process is the rejection. When applying to a bunch of schools, just make sure to temper expectations. For me, even as the rejection letters start to stack up, that one letter of acceptance makes all the effort worthwhile.

Hopefully, some of this will help provide some guidance in the future, and maybe open up alternate paths, which may not have been explored.

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Mattheau Faught
Mattheau Faught, Presentation Editor

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