As you may be aware college admissions and college financial aid officers are employees of a college, so who do they look out for? Another perspective is who looks out for the student and their family? The article below addresses how listing 10 colleges on the FAFSA can be used by admissions, financial aid officers and possibly state funding.
The one suggestion of listing colleges alphabetically is an interesting possibility. The amount of interest a student shows in a college is a tricky issue. On the one hand a student needs to express interest so the college knows they are a good candidate. On the other hand if you express to much interest your aid package may be reduced. If you apply to only one college what incentive does the college have to fund you?
As ASPIRE Advisors it is important to insure that our students and families are knowledgeable and aware that they are in a negotiation with some really sophisticated institutions and professionals. Most college admissions and aid folks are basically good people but they do work for the college and must put the interest of the college first. One should not be obnoxious when negotiating with them, however, you should represent your self interests in the most effective manner possible.
Do we wish to have a conversation of how best to negotiate admissions and financial aid? You might wish to go to Wikipedia and read about door-in-the-face and foot-in-the-door. In the spirit of disclosure I admit to using the door in the face technique this past week and it worked quite nicely.
In admissions applications students are encouraged to have reach, fit and slam dunk colleges. How does one identify colleges that are in each of the three categories and how do you maximize your admissions chances? In financial aid how do you maximize your aid opportunities for all three categories?
I might mention that the skills you need for maximizing college admissions and financial aid may be generalized to purchasing cars, houses, etc. Knowledge, planning and motivation go a long way in minimizing the cost of purchases. What is the outcome of ignorance, no planning and low motivation?
I look forward to your wise observations.
George A. Letchworth, Ph.D.