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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Colleges Trolling for Applicants
Perhaps my headline is a little unfair. We all know that the college admissions game is very much a seller's market. Even the top 5% of applicants aren't guaranteed admission at their dream schools. There are #justtoomanyapplicants. If this hashtag isn't trending yet, it should be.

So why, oh why, are some top colleges extending their application deadlines? Why are they spamming potential applicants with reminder emails, full of saccharine cheerleading and tons of exclamation marks?

A recent Bloomberg Business article took the opportunity to ask. The University of Chicago (acceptance rate: 8%) claimed it extended its application deadline in order to make potential candidates aware of new financial aid initiatives. Ok. The University of Pennsylvania (acceptance rate: 12%) claimed their extension was simply designed to make life a bit easier for applicants. Really?

I'm skeptical. These universities receive tens of thousands of applicants. Each application costs between $35-$75. Lower acceptance rates drive rankings. The truth is, these universities just don't need more students. And frankly, students who have already missed an admission deadline aren't likely to be the caliber of students they were seeking in the first place.

Truthfully, it seems to me like they're peddling false hope for a buck. Sure, in theory, a larger applicant pool increases the overall integrity of the student quality. But when we're talking 30,000 applicants, it's fairly impossible to believe any university would have the time or manpower to adequately vet them. Many admissions officers admit to turning away equally qualified students because they simply don't have the space for them.

To me, this practice underscores the need for students to do their research. Find a university that fits your needs. Assess whether or not your scores and grades make you a likely candidate. Then give the application all the effort you can.

Finally, turn it in on time. Your odds aren't that likely to change in the next five days. So breathe, and move on.

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