Many believe colleges hold all the power in the college process but the reality is there is a power shift between colleges and students. I think of it like a tennis match. These are the times the ball is in each side’s court:
Beginning of the college process The student has the power because he is deciding where to apply. Colleges vie for the student’s eye by various marketing techniques including mailings, social media, college website, college fairs, recruitment, college visits, and meeting invitations from alumni, current students and their parents. These expensive efforts are produced to get students to apply but students have the power to decide if they want to do this.
Middle of the college process The colleges hold the power once a student sends in her admission application. It is the school that will decide whether or not to offer acceptance in its next class. It also determines what it will offer in financial aid to help students pay their college bills. Students are the ones trying to demonstrate their interest in the college via grades, test scores, essays, volunteering, extracurricular activities, campus visits, college interviews, social media and IRL (in real life) interactions with college staff/alumni/current students. These enriching endeavors are made to convince the college what a great catch the student is, which will lead to the college exercising its power to offer acceptance and a generous financial aid package.
End of the college process The student gets the power back since it is his decision whether or not to accept a college’s admission offer. Colleges will offer an amount of financial aid they think will be enough to reduce the college bill so students will be willing to pay the rest to attend their school. Schools also will host outreach activities for admitted students on and off campus, send mailings, use social media and IRL contacts to convince them to attend.
The power shift ends here for most students satisfied with their acceptance and financial aid award. For students placed on the Wait List or those with a low aid package, the power shifts back to the college. Wait List turning into an acceptance is a long shot. An appeal process is in place usually through the college’s Financial Aid Office for students requesting a review because the financial aid award does not reflect their family’s financial situation and need.
Meet the expert
Jeannie Borin is recognized by media, clientele and colleagues globally as a leader in college admissions consulting and new media. She is a Fr/ NYC and a Juilliard School of Music alumna, holds a Masters Degree in psychology, education and counseling, and is President of College Connections. She is a member of several prestigious educational organizations including the IECA, HECA, WACAC and NACAC.
On #CampusChat tonight, Wednesday March 26 at 9pm ET/6pm PT, hosted by Wednesday’s Parent Suzanne and me, Jeannie will share her tips to empower students and parents during each phase of the college process. Follow Jeannie @JeannieBorin, #CampusChat’s founder Z. Kelly Queijo @CollegeVisit, Suzanne @SuzanneShaffer and me @pocsmom as we discuss the Student-College power shift with our wonderful #CampusChat buddies. Please join the conversation with your questions and comments.
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Read Suzanne’s blog for more info about the Student-College power shift.
Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!
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