How To Find A Great College – Guest Post

Featured Article By: J.D. Wyczalek (why-zall-ick),

Many of the top students at your high school (and this may be you) are told to apply to “insert brand name school here”. You know these schools. They consistently rank in the top 10% to top 20% year after year.

Colleges pay tens of thousands of dollars to get higher rankings. Is it fair that colleges pay to get a better rank?

While the super elite colleges continue to rank high and their tuition continues to skyrocket, it is no surprise that many families (even upper income families) wonder how they are going to pay for college  –  especially when the sticker price is north of $60,000 per year. Even in-state school costs are wildly out of control.

So, here you are in high school (or your student is in high school) and he/she is talking about going to an Ivy or top-tier/highly selective college.

First, don’t throw out the ranking publications (such as US News and World Report Best Colleges). Instead, use them as fuel for your personal application campaign. Review the different college rankings and see if there are any empty spots that you can fill.

When a college is making a decision about an individual student, one of the many questions they are asking themselves is, “if we admit this student will it affect our rankings in a positive way?” If the answer is yes, the probability of admission goes up. Plus, the probability of scholarships may go up as well.

One of my client’s, Lynn, applied to an out of state private college with a sticker price of $45,000 per year. Lynn’s father almost had a coronary attack when he saw that price. Like so many other families, he thought he could only afford an in state college and would reluctantly apply to in state colleges only.

The short of the long story is, Lynn’s family’s cost for this out of state private college was $5,000 per year. She was offered $40,000 in scholarships per year in free money to attend this college.

The reason she was offered such a nice package was because she properly promoted herself to the college. This college identified her as the type of student that they wanted. In other words, they decided that by having this type of student at their college, their rankings would go up.

She had decent grades, and decent test scores. What she had was a female student going into an underrepresented mostly male major. Plus, she offered geographic diversity as not many students from Arizona attended this college.

A college is willing to give out huge scholarships to students who will increase their rankings. In turn, if their rankings go up, more students will apply. Last year, the Fall 2012 admission pool for UC Berkeley was 61,661. The application fee per student is $70. (Granted, not everyone paid a fee; very low income families had the fee waived.) 61,000 multiplied by $70 equals $4,270,000. Four point Two Million Dollars! Colleges are willing to spend money on scholarships because they know they will recoup the money in another area.

The take away is this – start early. Don’t throw out a college based singularly on the sticker price. Colleges will offer discounts to students that they need. (Stanford doesn’t need another 4.0 student.) Properly promoting yourself to colleges will increase your chances of admission and scholarships.

More information can be found online at, sign up online for more great tips and earn the ultimate prize, the best free gift ever, the Full Ride Scholarship!

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