Most students should plan to apply to ten or twelve schools. If that sounds like an awful lot, it is!
Fortunately, most schools use the Common Application, a web platform that stores student information and sends it to schools when the student is ready to apply. The student can edit their Common App at any time, up until it’s submitted to schools.
Some colleges require supplemental materials as part of the Common App, but it’s still a lot more convenient than filling out an entire application for each college.
Some schools use the alternative Coalition Application, and a few states, including Texas and California, have a single application system for their public universities. Only a handful of colleges, most notably MIT and Brigham Young, use their own applications.
If you don’t want to complete so many applications, or if you’ve got a clear favorite, look into Early Action and Early Decision timelines.
Adapted from an article by A Starting Line coach Karen Droisen.