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Should I add a college to my list?
Jodi Foxx

As our seniors begin to wrap up their college applications, the next season of the senior year is beginning: the waiting period. This is arguably the most difficult season for seniors. Completing applications is stressful because there is so much to do, but waiting to hear your admission decisions is stressful because there is nothing to do. All the essays, transcripts and letters have been sent. The only thing to do is wait and pray. Wait and pray. Wait and pray.

If you find yourself getting restless while waiting, might I suggest that you search the archive of our blog using the term “waiting”? You’ll find advice in past blogs about how to weather this season, hopefully with a sense of peace in your heart.

But let me caution you about one thing NOT to do: adding more colleges to your list simply to give yourself a feeling of doing something. There is such a thing as too many colleges for a student to apply to, and every year we notice students coping with the waiting period by submitting another application. Or two. Or five. Okay, maybe not five but you get my point!

Sometimes it makes sense to add a college to your list at this stage of the game. But sometimes it honestly serves no purpose besides to help offset the helpless feeling of waiting. So before you add a college to your list, here are a few questions to ask yourself first:

  1. What types of colleges would you like to choose from in the spring? Have you applied to 1-2 colleges of each type already?
    You should definitely have a safe/likely school on your list, and it needs to be one that has a cost that matches your family’s budget. If there’s not at least one college in this category on your list, then YES you should add another college to your list.

    Other types of colleges you might consider: 
    - a specific location (close or far from home, small town/big city, close to extended family, etc.)
    - a specialty college (HBCU, Christian, art school, military college, etc.)
    - a specific size (large, mid-sized, small)

    If there’s a type of college you would like to have among your choices that’s not already represented on your list, then YES you should add another college to your list.

    Need help identifying a college that fits certain criteria? That’s what we are here for! Talk with your college counselor for help.
  2. Would you choose this college over another college already on your list?
    If there’s another college(s) on your list that you like more than the one you are thinking of adding, and it’s likely that you would be admitted to that college already on your list, then why add another? This is a scenario when you might say NO to adding another college to your list.
  3. What’s unique about the college you’re thinking about adding to your list? Why does it get a spot on your list?
    Is there a compelling reason to add this college to your list? Maybe you are hopeful that you would receive a generous scholarship. Or maybe you recently learned that someone you respect graduated from this college and you would like to follow in their footsteps. There might be a compelling reason to add this college. But we will gently nudge you to consider that a winning football season might not be a compelling reason to add a college if that’s the only thing grabbing your attention.

So, at what point do you have too many colleges on your list? That number will vary by student and situation, but generally speaking, if you’ve got more than 10 colleges on your list, it’s time to take a careful look at why each college is on your list. We are glad to help you think this through if you would like.

We know waiting to hear from colleges is hard. Is there anyone who actually enjoys a waiting period? Probably not. But before you hastily add a college to your list, consider the above questions and take a moment to pray this scripture:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Father, give us all peace. Help us to keep our eyes on you. Help us to trust you with everything, big and small. Thank you for loving us and helping us.


Jodi Foxx
Director of College Counseling


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