University of Virginia

How many colleges – Part II – Parents can help

How many colleges should you apply to?  We recently addressed this common question with our answer here.  If you look around on the internet, you’ll find many different answers, many different approaches.  The takeaway is that there is no one single answer for all students, you have to decide on the approach that works for your family.

Application costs are not insignificant, both in terms of money and your time.  US News posts a list of ten colleges with the highest application fees, they were in the range of $75 to $90.  Some schools have lower online application fees, so be sure to look for any discounts or waivers that you can get.

Time is often underestimated by students, but think about the time you’ll invest in your essays, alumni interviews, asking for recommendation letters, and all the rest.  You will be doing all this while trying to get straight As and be Mother Theresa-like in your community service, maybe playing a sport or being involved in extracurriculars too.  Can you handle the stress?  Are you well organized?  Do you have a plan or are you just going to wing it?

One of the best resources you can turn to for answers is your parents.  Your parents, amazingly, will have a different perspective.  Bring up your thoughts and concerns and listen to their input.  How many different applications do they think you have time for? Do they consider you to be organized?  How can they help you with your concerns?

It’s a great chance for some project management and teamwork if you invite your Mom and Dad in early.  If you wait until December, you’re going to hear nagging and “I told you so.”  Use their knowledge and wisdom to your advantage.