How to Answer the “Where Else Are You Applying?” Question on College Apps

When filling out college applications, you may come across a section asking you to provide information about the other schools you have applied to or where you plan to attend. This requirement can often spark confusion and raise questions about its significance.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this practice and address the concerns you may have regarding its potential impact on your chances of admission.

Why Do Colleges Ask About Other Schools?

Gathering Peer School Data

One of the primary reasons colleges include questions about other schools is for data-gathering purposes. By understanding which institutions an applicant has considered or applied to, colleges gain valuable insights into their position in relation to other educational institutions.

This information helps colleges to identify their peer schools and provides them with a better understanding of their competition within the admissions landscape.

Assessing Enrollment Trends

Additionally, knowing where applicants are also generally applying allows colleges to assess enrollment trends. This data assists colleges in determining their yield rate, which is the percentage of admitted students who actually choose to attend their institution.

By gathering information on which colleges applicants are considering, colleges can anticipate their own yield rates and allocate resources accordingly to attract and retain desirable candidates.

Customizing Recruitment Strategies

Moreover, knowledge about the other schools applicants are considering assists colleges in customizing their recruitment strategies. By understanding the preferences and choices of prospective students, colleges can adapt their approach to better showcase their unique attributes and competitive advantages compared to peer institutions.

This information allows colleges to highlight what sets them apart and increase their appeal to applicants.

Does Answering the Question Impact Your Chances?

It’s natural to wonder if answering the question about other schools you have applied to or plan to attend will have any negative consequences on your chances of admission. Fortunately, you can rest assured that this question is not intended to influence the decision-making process. Colleges typically use this information purely for data analysis and to improve their understanding of applicant behavior.

You have the option to answer honestly or choose not to answer at all. The choice is yours; either option will not significantly impact your admissions prospects. Keep in mind that colleges have a holistic approach to evaluating applications, considering various factors such as academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, essays, and recommendations. This question about other schools is just a small piece of the larger picture.

Handling the Question on Waitlist Forms

In some cases, colleges may ask about other schools on waitlist forms. If you find yourself on a waitlist and remain undecided about your future college choice, it is perfectly acceptable to indicate “undecided” in response to this question. This response reflects your genuine uncertainty and will not negatively influence your position on the waitlist.

Also check out: What You Need to Know About Rejections from Lower-Ranked Schools

What You Need to Know About Rejections from Lower-Ranked Schools


Understanding why colleges ask about other schools and whether answering the question affects your chances is essential for navigating the college application process. Remember, colleges ask this question to gather data, refine their recruitment strategies, and gain insights into applicant behavior.

Feel free to be honest or exercise your right not to answer. Ultimately, your admissions prospects hinge on a multitude of factors beyond this minor query. Stay confident and focus on presenting a comprehensive and compelling application that showcases your unique qualities and aspirations.

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