I had a family in to see me in the office yesterday and they told me that they were worried.  They were talking to some of their friends who sent their students off to college last year, and their friends revealed that their students did not get in to their top picks ... and on top of that  ... they did not even get a good aid package at their safety school!  "What's the deal with that?", they asked.

It's simple ... their student applied to colleges where they were not a good academic fit.  They were not really qualified to attend the schools they applied to.  "But why didn't their safety school give them any aid?", they asked.

Simple again ... their safety school knew they were the safety school.  That school knew that the only reason for you attending, was that you didn't get into the other schools.  Why should they give you a lucrative aid package when you consider them the school of last resort?

Colleges factor in your "display of interest" in their admissions and aid award decisions.  It's also known as Demonstrated interest.  It refers to the interactions initiated by college applicants with colleges they apply to. These interactions include:

Requesting information
Contacting the admissions office
Campus tours
Overnight visits
Campus interviews
Alumni interviews
Virtual interviews
College fairs
Information sessions
Social media interaction
Early admission
and others things like correspondence by email and phone.

Some colleges use demonstrated interest as a way to gage a student's likelihood of enrolling. Offering admissions to students with demonstrated interest means lower admissions/recruiting costs for the college since they can establish their freshman class sooner and are less likely to lose students to transferring.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that from 2003 to 2006, the percentage of colleges rating demonstrated interest as a "considerably important" factor increased to 21 percent from 7 percent, according to an annual survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Since then, that number has held steady (another 27 percent of colleges now deem it "moderately important").

For the parents referenced above; they could have avoided the whole thing by creating a comprehensive college plan.  Their students should never have applied to a list of schools where their chance of acceptance was low.  Building a good list of viable colleges, that grant good aid packages, and building competition between the schools for the student is crucial to ensuring success in college and making it affordable.

If you'd like to discuss how to create a comprehensive plan for your student, please call us at The College Advisor at 866-244-9971 or go to our website at www.PlanForCollegeAid.com.

US News and World Reports names Princeton University in New Jersey, the Number One National University.

Total undergraduate enrollment: 5,391

2015-2016 tuition and fees:$43,450

Regular decision application deadline: Jan. 1

More about
 Princeton University.

Colleges want to appear to be very selective.  Let's face it, if it's tough to get in .... that just wants us want it more ... RIGHT?  

Did you know that if you go on a tour at an Ivy school like Yale or Princeton, they will encourage you to apply ... even if they know that you will not likely be admitted?   If you apply it will increase the number of applicants; but they will still admit the same number of students.  This will make that school appear to be more selective.

The fact that the competition is keen has more -- if not everything -- to do with the sheer number of students applying than it does with the college’s academic standing.  Not many years ago, colleges had to struggle to fill seats. Today, a college looking to welcome a Freshman class of 3,000 may have over 40,000 applicants. You do the math!