Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How many Grad School applications are reasonable?

  1. Aug 30, 2012 #1
    Hey everybody,

    Im planning on applying to Nuclear Engineering PhD programs next year and I was wondering if it is reasonable to ask my recommendation-writers to send the letters to 5 different schools? Do most people just apply to one grad school? Seeing as they all require three letters of recommendation, the more applications you make, it seems that the harder and harder it would be to gather the necessary materials. However, if I only apply to one or two schools, and I don't get accepted, I will have to wait around with a minimum wage job for a whole year before trying again. It's such a predicament...
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    5 (or even 10) is certainly not an unreasonable number. Recommendation writers will spend most of their effort writing a single letter which will go to all of the schools. Printing multiple copies of this letter and putting them into envelopes (which you will normally have provided, pre-addressed to the correct destination) is not much extra work, and assuming they are university professors, it's part of their job to write letters for their most promising students.

    Yes, it's also extra work on your part to apply to more universities, because each school requires its own application and slight variations on the required materials. But better safe than sorry, unless you really don't mind the prospect of the minimum wage job for a year.
  4. Aug 30, 2012 #3
    I agree with jbunniii here. You should play it safe and apply to several schools. There are too many factors involved to know whether you will be accepted or not. Also, if you have loans, remember that if you take no classes for longer than 6 months, you will have to start repaying those loans. That will certainly not be easy on minimum wage.

    If the schools charge quite a bit for applying, consider it an investment. If need be, take out another small student loan for it. You are much better investing that money into a better chance at heading directly into grad school than you are risking it with one or two colleges and ending up getting nothing.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook