In recent years, there’s been some media attention to the order families list colleges on their ​Free Application for Federal Student Aid (​FAFSA).

The story goes that college admissions officers read into this information​ to see how interested you are in applying to their respective schools.

In other words, the Boston University ​guy would not be too ​happy ​if BU ​were​ listed seventh (out of 10) on the FAFSA.Students-Thumb_(2)

Why do they care? Follow along.

It’s about “Yield.”  Yield means the number of kids who matriculate versus the amount of applicants admitted.  The higher the yield, the more desirable the college.

Conversely, too many kids saying "Thanks, but no thanks" lowers yield and makes a college look unattractive.

The more desirable the college, the higher the ranking in US News and World Report.

The higher the college’s rank, the happier the alumni (Wow, Flounder​, can you believe how high we're ranked THIS year? I could never get in if I applied today!).

The happier the alumni, the more generous they are with donations to the college’s endowment!

So if a college is listed deep on the depth chart, its admissions officer may decide to ‘protect’ the college’s yield by denying admission to that candidate.

Is this really true?

Honestly, I don’t know.  I have seen the same stories and confronted a handful of higher education “insiders” on this topic.  Most admissions officers say it doesn't work this way. But because I’m a smidge on the superstitious side, I cannot discount this completely.

So my advice is to do your best to list your top five choices first.  If that is too hard, the alternative is to list the colleges alphabetically.

I hope you found this post valuable!  Good luck!

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