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How Many Grad Schools Should You Apply to?

Ana-Marcela Lopez / Find a Grad Program »

Applying for graduate school can be an even more arduous process than it was to apply for undergrad. Essays, personal statements, GRE’s—oh my! Whether you applied to one university or fifteen the first time around, you want to consider a different approach when it comes to graduate school applications. Many students wonder whether to apply to a few or many, but there is no clear-cut answer. The right number for you depends on, well, you. Every student is different, and understanding your own circumstances will help you decide how many grad schools you should apply to. As you prepare to complete these applications, keep the following factors in mind: 


The Cost of Applying to Grad School Ranges from $50 to $75

While applying to more programs does cast a wider net, you have to consider the cost of each application. Each school will have a different price with most of them ranging from $50 to $75. And the more schools you apply to, the higher your tab gets. Don’t break the bank trying to send as many applications as possible. Focus on a few that you know you are qualified for.


Each program and university will vary in their application requirements. Some might need 3 letters of recommendation, personal statements, or any other variety of submission requirements. Consider how each program application differs and what those differences entail. Do you have the time and resources to apply to several schools?
The path to grad school can take up to 6-8 months. Do you have the time to prepare for the GRE (or retake it if you aren’t happy with your score)? Once you have those stellar scores, can you devote enough time to each application to make sure it is of high quality and relevant to the program you’re applying for? Do you have enough time to get the letters of recommendation you need? How about getting your transcripts? Make sure you understand all the necessary steps needed to submit an application. If you only have time to prepare a few high-quality applications, that’s ok! Quality over quantity is key here.


While it may be tempting to apply as many schools as possible to increase your chance of acceptance, you will actually be doing a disservice to yourself. Admissions offices will detect generic applications that you’ve sent to ten other schools, which will hurt your chances of admission. Make sure each of your applications is unique, thoughtful, and relevant to the program you’re applying to. 

There is no magical number of applications that is right for everyone. And while it may be tempting to increase your chances of acceptance by submitting as many applications as you can, doing so might be a disservice to yourself in the end. Consider your financial means, the type of program, how much time you have, and the quality of your application to determine what number is right for you. 

At Abound, We’re here to help. Abound: Grad School narrows down your options and gets you in touch with schools that we can confirm are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced. Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.

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