Ten Too Many

Why we apply to an insane number of colleges and why we shouldn’t

By Rashi Saxena | A&E Editor

This application season, I’ll admit it, I became a little paranoid, a little too paranoid. I fretted over my grades and my test scores, worrying about my college admissions. I stressed over my essays, probably going through almost 100 drafts for all my colleges combined. So I applied to many colleges, colleges to which as I applied, I thought, “I probably will not go here, but I will apply anyways.” Looking back, I question myself, but the truth is, I know why I did that: I wanted to have a lot of choices. I wanted to be safe.

School is competitive. People want the spotlight, and they will do quite a bit to get that spotlight shining on them. True to the competitive nature of our school, our competition continues in college admissions as well. We feel pressured to add more colleges. Hearing someone else talk about a college we may not have been thinking about plants an idea in our head. Soon, the college list becomes never-ending, and I also fell into this trap.

From September of senior year, my college list kept on growing. Each “bad” grade and each “low” test score forced me to add yet another safety school, a school which I most likely would not attend. Still, each new college I heard my classmates talking about forced me to consider that new college. So I started applying, then I applied to some more, and then I applied to a lot more colleges.

The admissions started coming in February. To be honest, I received quite a few acceptances, but I tossed many of them aside without seriously considering them. These were the schools that did not matter to me, even though they were great colleges. However, after casually ignoring my first few acceptances, I began to think about why I applied to all these places if I did not plan on going, and I realized that I should have been smarter. Applying to colleges we will not go to takes the spaces of those who would actually love to attend these places. College admissions become more competitive just because people want to be safe. In our frenzy to feel that we have choices, we lose sight of where we would actually want to go. So while applying to just your dream school would not be the best idea, evaluating your college list so it truly reflects where you want to go to college will be better for yourself.