Use Changes to the College Admissions Process to Earn Admission

In the face of skyrocketing competition, your child should use changes to the college admission process to increase her odds of earning admission and even reduce her cost of attendance. Consider the following as your child prepares to apply:

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1. Less required entrance exams
Yes, you read that correctly. Many highly selective colleges no longer require submitting two or three SAT II subject tests on top of the SAT I or ACT. The University of California system, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and other highly selective colleges have all dropped the SAT II subject test requirement. Check to see whether the colleges your child is interested in attending require the SAT II. Your child should continue to focus on scoring as high as possible on the SAT I or ACT.

2. Applicants are using social media to earn admission
Long the main stay for keeping up to date their friends 24/7, social media is now helping applicants earn admission to their dream colleges. There are many social media sites dedicated to college admissions. One of these sites, ZeeMee, allows applicants to create a free profile where they can post a a brief video and other information to show their personality and bring their application to life. Applicants can share their profile with admissions officers by putting a link to it in their college applications. Effectively using social media to showcase an applicant's personality is an excellent way to stand out from a sea of highly qualified applicants to earn admission. While on the topic of social media, remember that all accounts should only portray a student in a positive light. Avoid posts that suggest poor judgment.

3. Changes to the financial aid process
At many colleges, financial aid is available on a first come first serve basis. The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is usually what financial aid officers rely on in determining an applicant's financial need. Until this year, the FAFSA was based on the tax return from the prior year. Many families who filed for tax return extensions were unable to submit their FAFSA until their tax return was complete. This delay jeopardized their ability to receive financial aid. Now, the FAFSA will be based on tax returns from two years ago instead of the prior year. This will enable all applicants to turn in their financial aid applications on time and be eligible to receive the maximum amount of financial aid that they qualify for.

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Greg Kaplan is a college admissions strategist and author dedicated to empowering families to develop their children's skills, passions, and interests and market them as high value applicants in the college admissions process. For more information on college admissions consulting and an advice blog, visit his website.

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