Here are some factors to consider when thinking about how many schools to apply to:
- I recommend applying to no fewer than 3 schools and no more than 10 schools. I think the perfect number of schools for the average applicant to apply to would be 4-5 schools.
- Apply to more schools if your GPA is below 3.6 or GMAT is below 680.
- Apply to more schools if you are more flexible about where you go and financial aid/scholarships will play a big part in your decision.
- Apply to fewer schools if you know that you only want to go to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, etc.
- Apply to more schools if you are 30+ years of age and it is imperative that you go to business/policy school in the fall.
- Apply to fewer schools if you are younger than 25. Focus on the very top schools and get some professional feedback if you can afford it. Make this first time applying count!
- Apply to more schools if you absolutely hate your job and really want to go to business/policy school in the fall—even if it isn’t one of the top 4 or 5 schools.
- Apply to fewer schools if you started the process late but still want to throw your hat in the ring. Focus on doing your best on 2 or 3 applications rather than turning in shoddy, rushed applications for lots of schools.