How many colleges should your kid apply to? Well, within reason (because many have application fees), the more the merrier. If your kid only applies to five, he or she may just get into one or two.
That's OK, as long as they're sure those are ones they really like. But between the time they submit applications and hear back from schools, they may have changed their minds a little.
Applying to perhaps 10 or even more colleges will maximize the odds of getting into a bunch of schools your kids are excited about. They'll also be more likely to end up with a selection of schools to choose from. Also worth thinking about is that if they're applying for financial aid, each school will offer a different package. More schools applied to will probably yield more packages to consider.
Most colleges today have comprehensive websites that cover a broad range of topics, such as campus life, faculty, courses, financial aid, housing, information about the surrounding community, useful addresses, and phone numbers for more information. Make sure you and your child spend time checking them out.
You'll find lots of additional tips on paying for college in our College Savings Center. Our Paying for College discussion board is a good place to ask questions you may have, and our book, The Motley Fool's Guide to Paying for School by Robert Brokamp, is also a handy resource.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.