After the seven-college application limit it had been using for decades was found to be illegal following last year’s process, the College Office recommended that seniors complete at most 10 college applications.
Despite the recommendation limit, there is space for 12 applications on the stuy.edu college application Web page.
The college office meets with students who choose to apply to more than 12 schools. “We try to be the voice of sanity. We discuss the decisions with the kids and we try to inform them,” college advisor Pat Cleary said.
At least five students applied to more than 12 schools.
Students were asked to inform the College Office of the schools they were applying to by Monday, December 10 since most regular decision applications have a January deadline.
State University of New York schools, City University of New York schools and University of California schools are excluded from the recommended limit.
The administration sent the members of the class of 2008 letters notifying them of the removal of the application cap in April 2007.
New York State law forbids schools from limiting the number of colleges to which students apply. Paragraph 209-A of the New York State Consolidated Education Laws states, “No rule or regulation shall be adopted by school authorities […] which limits the number of requests for the processing of college applications that may be submitted by the pupils in a secondary school.”
That law also forbids schools from limiting early action applications, a policy that was ended earlier this year for the class of 2008.
The seven-college application limit had been enforced for 28 years. The class of 2008 is the first class to be allowed to apply to an unlimited number of schools, though the class of 2007 was allowed a last-minute eighth application following the results of early action and early decision applications.
The application limit was enforced to “give students a more realistic outlook,” Principal Stanley Teitel said. “The limit made them think about their choices. It made the students ask themselves ‘Where am I really going to go?’”
The College Office counsels students on the college application process and sends portions of students’ applications, including their transcript and secondary school report, to schools.
The number of applications to schools has increased. For example, in 1990, Columbia University reviewed 4,000 applications. In 2000, Columbia University reviewed 23,000 applications.
“There was a general increase in all college applications,” Columbia University representative Ramon Flover said. He could not provide specific statistics.
“Having more applications can increase the chance for the student to get into at least one of their schools,” he said.
The College Office recommends 10 colleges to give students a “reasonable amount [of schools] for the students to reach for,” Cleary said. “We try to help [the seniors] make a serious attempt at their schools.”
“Each application deserves a lot of attention,” Cleary said. “If we had given students 25 spots to apply for schools, I think kids would have been obligated to fill in all those spots.”
“Parents really underestimate a rejection letter. Kids take it very personally,” she said.
Besides the increased work and the more possible rejection letters, applying to a larger number of schools can have other negative effects.
“If we allow kids to apply to an unlimited number of schools, only the best Stuy students will get into the best colleges and someone who is otherwise qualified will not be able to get in,” Parents’ Association Co-President Leo Y.W. Lee said.
“I’m glad that [the College Office] is doing something to help give us a shot at college. Applying to too many colleges can hurt everyone,” senior Chris Lee said.
Senior Jamarr Pinnock agreed. “Some kids are trying to apply to like 20 schools and that just lowers the chance for everyone else. You can only go to one school,” he said.
“Twelve is an all right number because it gives us a chance to apply to the places we want without messing up other people. Ten applications is even better, because we really get to focus in on our stuff then,” Pinnock said.
“It’s all about quality over quantity,” Cleary said.