All of my students apply to 8-10 colleges and they apply to most early. They do it to find out their results early and to be in a position to have time to apply for scholarships. It is nearly impossible to apply for admission and scholarships simultaneously and keep up with homework, extracurriculars and jobs.
One of my students reported recently that he was criticized at school for following this strategy. He was told this is wrong and quizzed about who told him to do it. He was amused. We have been preparing for college application and scholarship season for over a year. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing.
This student is going to do EXTREMELY well because he is applying to the right colleges for the right majors. His GPA and scores make him an excellent candidate for all of his colleges. He is highly likely to be offered merit scholarships. Because of his admission strategy, he has time to apply for merit money. Best of all, because he is well informed and has been working on this for so long, he has confidence and feels good about his plans for success.