Nov   2016



Use Changes to the College Admission Process to Your Child's Advantage

Founder, Soaring Eagle College Consulting
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2019

The college admission scene is changing. And in the face of intense competition, your child can use those changes to increase their odds of earning admission and even reduce the cost of attendance.

Consider the following as your child prepares to apply to college:

Fewer schools are requiring entrance exams

Yes, you read that correctly. Many highly selective colleges no longer require submitting two or three SAT Subject Tests on top of the SAT or ACT, including the University of California system, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Moreover, around 800 colleges and universities have gone “test optional,” formally eschewing both the SAT and ACT in favor of emphasizing other application components. Check to see whether the colleges your child is interested in attending require standardized tests, and if so, which ones. Your child should still take the SAT or ACT and focus on scoring as high as possible, as the majority of colleges still require a test. But if SAT Subject Tests are not required, they can use the time they would’ve spent studying for them on other things, like preparing for any AP tests, deepening their engagement in extracurricular activities, or searching for and applying to scholarships.

Related: Colleges that Do Not Consider Standardized Test Scores 

Applicants are using social media to strengthen admission

Long the mainstay for keeping up to date 24/7 with their friends, social media is now helping applicants earn admission to their dream colleges. For example, ZeeMee, a social media site dedicated exclusively to undergraduate and graduate school admissions, allows applicants to create a free profile where they can post a video, photos, awards, and other information to show their personality and bring their application to life. Applicants can share their profile with admission officers by putting a link to it in their college applications. Beyond ZeeMee, your student can focus on gussying up their existing social media profiles—not just making sure they’re free of questionable posts but that they genuinely reflect their interests and passions.

The financial aid process is changing

At many colleges financial aid is available on a first-come, first-served 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 before their tax return was complete. This delay jeopardized their ability to receive financial aid. Now, 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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About Greg Kaplan

Greg Kaplan

Greg Kaplan is a college application strategist, author of Earning Admission: Real Strategies for Getting into Highly Selective Colleges, and the founder of Soaring Eagle College Consulting. Greg focuses on empowering families to develop their children’s high value skills, interests, and passions and market the value they would bring to colleges. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and UC Irvine School of Law, where he received close to a full tuition scholarship. See for more information.


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