5 Steps to Level The College Admissions Playing Field


You see all the inequality in education. High schools are overcrowded… and underfunded. The SAT is biased. Many teachers are feeling burned out. Public School Counselors, on average, have well over 400 students assigned to them. And there’s so much more.

How does this inequality relate to you? They pile up to make college admissions unfair, even though many in admissions work hard to create opportunities for everyone.

You therefore need to take deliberate steps to level the playing field for your teen.

So, here are 5 steps you can take to give your family an edge.

1.      Explore a broad range of college options.

“Casting a wide net” with colleges mitigates the risks associated with low admit rates, while it also increases your chances for landing generous financial offers.

2.      Demonstrate your interest in your targeted colleges by attending virtual tours, information sessions and other admissions events.

These activities will help your family make a more informed college decision. They will also show the college your student is an informed applicant, giving them an advantage in admissions.

3.      Encourage activities that exhibit your teen’s strengths and interests.

The days of college admissions favoring the perfectly “well-rounded student” are just as out of date as acid-wash jeans. Today, students are advantaged by showing depth of interest.

4.      Register your student for the SAT or ACT.

Though most colleges no longer require these tests, a great score can still improve your teen’s application and financial aid.

And there’s no risk with taking the test these days. Students can withhold their scores if they don’t like them.

5.      Search Net Price Calculators from a variety of colleges and compare your estimated costs.

Getting a read on the differences in potential cost sooner rather than later will help your planning.

By combining these 5 strategies, you will decrease your stress, save time and money, and increase your confidence. I can’t guarantee any college admissions decisions, but I can guarantee these steps will help you take better control of your college search and make the process fairer for your teen.

Fitz Totten is the Founder of  Find The Right College. He has dedicated the entirety of his 28-year career to encouraging higher education opportunities. Fitz has created the leading Parent Master Series around avoiding the 7 Biggest Mistakes that derail the college planning process.

Fitz worked in the Vanderbilt, Duke Law and St. Lawrence admissions offices prior to serving as an enrollment management consultant for over a hundred colleges around the country. Find The Right College provides consulting and resources to help families level the playing field in college admissions.

Sign up for his next workshop:  The 7 Biggest Mistakes Most Families Make That Can Derail Their Student’s College Dreams.

About the author 

Stuart Canzeri

Stuart is a nationally recognized industry expert in college funding and college financial planning. He serves on the National College Advocacy Board (NCAG) and is known on the internet as the "College Financial Guy".

His podcast has been helping parents with college-bound children select the "right" college and save on the costs. He is co-founder of Peachtree Financial Group, a boutique registered investment advisory firm and Managing Partner of Peachtree College Planning, where he serves as a registered fiduciary for his clients.

Stuart received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Tulane University, an MBA from Mercer University, and completed his Certified Financial Planner certification from the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business.

He has been in the financial and college planning arena for over 20 years.


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