Re: the order you list colleges on the FAFSA

Hi there

In recent years, there’s been some media attention to the order families list colleges on their FAFSA.

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

In other words, the BU guy would not be too impressed if BU was listed seventh (out of 10) on the FAFSA.

Why do they care?  Follow along.

It’s about “Yield.”  Yield is 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 US News rank, the happier the alumni (Wow, Billy, 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 lower than Austin Davis on the depth chart (look it up, great story!), 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.  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 not to get too cray-cray about it – you know, debating numbers four, five and six for a week – but list your clear cut top choices first.


This should go without saying, but if your kid has anything unflattering or embarrassing on any social media account, now is the time to “audit” it and get it the hell off their profile.

An increasing amount of admissions officers admit “stalking” candidates on social media each year.  Don’t get denied because of something stupid you posted.

(Note – I was just up in Boston with a bunch of my high school friends.  Don’t look at my photos, we’re too old and boring at this point anyway.)


We are once again offering our fast, easy and no-frills FAFSA Warrior forms prep service. Use the coupon code ‘warrior’ (no quotes) at checkout to get 50 bucks off. Deadline:  October 24th.

Enroll now if you have a November 1 priority financial aid deadline. Info at

Upcoming Financial Aid “Secrets” Workshops

Too numerous to mention here (I’m risking Carpal Tunnel!).  See

We’ve teed up a few more this month, including tonight (10/15) at the Greenlawn Library, 7pm.

Please forward this post to any client, friend, frenemy, parent, coach who could use this info!  They can subscribe (free) at

Your Correspondent,

Andy Lockwood

P.S.  We are pulling the FAFSA Warrior special Oct 24th so as to encourage anyone with Nov 1 deadlines to avoid a “Fire Drill.”  We cannot guarantee that we will make that deadline if you enroll afterward, and we are planning to impose a “rush” surcharge on anyone who needs us last minute.

We’re not doing this to be mean (OK, maybe a little), it’s more about the fact that we have four kids actively engaged in all kinds of sports, plays and other stuff that is more important to us compared to an easily avoided rush.  Your emergency is not our emergency.

So if you have a November 1 deadline (info available on each college’s website), enroll while you’re still thinking about it.

$50 off by using the coupon code “warrior” at checkout.

P.P.S.  I am planning a webinar on Admissions Secrets after November 15th, thanks for your feedback