So what is the right number of colleges to apply to? Did you read my post last week about the right number of BS/MD programs to apply to? If not, go read that right now. I’ll wait….
So, you already know the answer, don’t you? Well, yes and no. The right number of colleges to apply to differs somewhat from the right number of BS/MD programs because there is more variation in acceptance rates at regular colleges.
All BS/MD programs are a reach for ANY student. But there is a huge range of acceptance rates for colleges. You have the most selective colleges that are pressing a 5% acceptance rate. And you have many very good colleges with acceptance rates of 70% or greater. Contrary to popular believe, a lower acceptance rate does not make for a better college.
The focus on choosing non BS/MD colleges should be on how well they do getting students accepted into medical school and not the name of the college. You also need to make sure that you have colleges on your list with a range of acceptances. It is fine to have 2 or 3 colleges that would be considered a reach, 3 or 4 that are a match and at least 2 colleges that you are fairly confident will admit you. Consistent with this, my typical BS/MD students apply to between 8 and 10 regular colleges.
Can you apply to more? Of course you can. But in doing so you run the very real risk that you are applying to too many colleges and not giving each college a convincing statement about why you are a good match for that college. And applying to 10 colleges that each have a 10% admit rate does not mean that you will get into at least one.
Find a reasonable number of colleges that are a good fit for you and that have a range of acceptances. That will do more to help you gain acceptance than applying to 30 colleges.