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Kavitha Vijeyavelan
06 Aug 2015 3.3K 3 mins Share

US University admits - How many is too many?

This article explores the subject of Uni applications and what is the right amount of applications one should send out

06 Aug 2015 3.3K 3 mins Share

As you begin the application process to US Unis, it may suddenly hit you that there are quite a number of Universities that you can actually apply to. So which ones will you be applying to? How many will you be applying to? Is it really advisable to apply to many? So many questions start to appear in your mind. What really is the right thing to do?

Here are a few factors to guide you:


Depending on the period when you begin with your applications to US Universities, you can decide how many US universities you are going to apply to. American Unis mostly have a December deadline for their fall term. It would be ideal if you have your TOEFL and GRE scores in by October so that you have at least a month’s time for short-listing of Unis and beginning with your applications. 

If you’ve taken your GRE and TOEFL exams late and have decided to make use of Fall applications in the months of November-December, you don’t have to worry; there are still numerous Unis with January deadlines or even later for you to apply to.

If this is the case, you would be better off applying to a limited number of Unis to keep up your chances of scholarships and assistantships. It is advisable for you to consider applying to five or six Unis of your choice.

In Dollars!

For each US University application, you will need to spend around 10,000 Rs. Applying to ten Unis will cost you a minimum of 1 lakh Rs. Surely, you agree that, that’s quite a huge investment just for applications alone. Besides this amount, you will have to pay more for the US VISA and SEVIs fee. At the end of it all, you are sure to notice the huge dent in your pocket once you’re done just with the application process!

Though five to six Unis should be your ideal number, many students prefer to apply to about 12 Unis. The cost of higher studies abroad could cost you as much as 20 lakhs or more, so the application fee in comparison to that, hardly seems as much to them.

Don’t Get Rejected!

Experts have put together a pattern using which you can ensure that out of all the Unis you have applied to, you get as many Unis to accept you. Follow this and don’t let your efforts go to waste, especially when there is so much money involved in each and every application.

Here’s how to go about your applications.

  • For those applying to 12 US Unis: 5 safe, 4 moderate, and 3 ambitious Unis
  • For those applying to 10 US Unis: 4 safe, 3 moderate, and 3 ambitious Unis  
  • For those applying to 8 US Unis: 3 safe, 3 moderate and 2 ambitious Unis
  • For those applying to 6 US Unis: 2 safe, 2 moderate, and 2 ambitious Unis
  • For those applying to 5 US Unis: 2 safe, 2 moderate, and 1 ambitious Unis 

(Ambitious – Those Unis that are seen to have a low acceptance rate; Safe – Those Unis that are seen to have a very good acceptance rate; Moderate – Those Unis with a reasonable acceptance rate)

Don’t Overdo It!

Don’t go overboard and end up applying to numerous safe Unis just because they are safe! Some students get so caught up with applying to safe Unis that they end up applying to low ranked Unis and ones that are not even ranked!

You really don’t want to be doing this and this is when you should stop and ask yourself, “Would I consider studying here if I get an admit?”

Don’t apply to Unis that don’t make it to your shortlist. Some such low ranked Unis, however, may still have excellent professors and facilities. These are fine to apply to.

Don’t Deviate! 

Don’t end up applying to every other Uni you know of, if you really know where you want to study in. In case you are focussed mostly on this one Uni, you can apply to two more just to play it safe.  

Reasons why you prefer these Unis could range from anything from facilities to friends or relatives being in or staying near the Uni. Whatever the reason, when you’re sure, don’t lose focus and end up applying to endless ones, as that would just be a pointless exercise.

How Many Admits?

If you apply to 12, you are bound to end up with at least four admits. You should keep in mind however, that this is no contest; it is better to have applied to four and have gotten one admit which you were really keen on obtaining. If you are suffering from a low GRE score and are unsure where you will get any admit at all, then it might be a good idea to apply to as many as possible to try your luck.

If you have a good academic profile and have a good GRE score, you can be confident and you really don’t need to apply to so many. 

Your Visa!

It has been observed that students with more number of admits have more of a chance to have their US VISA get rejected. It may seem like you’re desperate if you’ve applied to a ton of Unis and ended up getting numerous admits. 

Now that you know the basics, you can judge for yourself where you stand in terms of landing admits and get started with your application process right away. Have a look at some of the course listings we have up on our site to help you decide which Unis you should be applying to!

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