By mere common sense, and by the probability numbers, the more number of schools you apply, the better chances of you getting in and being accepted. After you have identified the area, the next step is to shortlist the schools of that particular area (Higher ranked, mid ranked and lower ranked). If you only brood over the higher ranked schools, your chances of getting in, reduces drastically. Having said that there is a lot of randomness in the selection process, and nothing can be pre-determined. After all, the process has been completed it will all boil down how different professors will view your application form, and what inference they draw. The rankings depend on many aspects that range from application scrutiny, to the sources of funding to the faculty’s funding, from the professional acumen of the professors to the level of training provided, and it is almost impossible for the students to go through all the stages and decide what is best for them. So, what we are basically saying is that always keep options open and go for the best possible options.

The point to be noted: if you are facing a financial crunch and are not in a position to apply to many schools, do not worry, once you get into the right program backed by real funding, you can pay yourself back in a jiffy.

All we are saying is that the route is very uncertain and play smartly and try to spread the risk over many schools, and evaluate the pros and cons with astute thought.