Ok, I know that headline is a little click-baitey, but I promise you this IS an actual thing that almost no one knows about. It WILL make a difference, and it involves a bit of sleight-of-hand. The way the system is set up now, you (as a high school senior) log into the FAFSA site, and you see that you’ve got 10 spots to list the colleges you’re interested in. Great, right? Almost everyone just fills all of those fields out, submits, and calls it a day. BUT WAIT! There’s a problem with this.
What you don’t know is that ALL of those colleges can see your submission, INCLUDING the other colleges you’ve applied to. This might not be in your best interests to do – if Joe X from Awesome University sees that you’ve applied to College Z, he might think that you’ve put College Y on your list as a “safety school”, and give you LESS consideration than if he only saw HIS college on the list, EVEN IF YOU MEET ALL THEIR REQUIREMENTS. If good old College Y (Go Ys!) is the only college on that list, it might appear to Joe that you really really want to get into that school, which works in your favor. Schools like to see enthusiasm.
So here’s what you do: file the FAFSA and list just ONE college. Then wait a few days, log back in, delete that college and enter the next college on your list. Do this until all of the colleges you are applying to have been entered on the FAFSA.
Worried that this is a bit shady? Don’t be. FAFSA actually says that this is an ok thing to do, and they have recently updated their website with this information. You won’t be penalized for using this method – you’ll only increase your chances of getting into the colleges you want. o go for it! You’ve got nothing to lose, and maybe the college of your dreams to gain! Let us know how this went for you in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!