College Counselor’s Corner: It’s All About Economics!

When it comes to everything college, money really talks. Whether it relates to saving for your student’s education, institutional fundraising or tuition, read on to see how economics plays a role. And be sure to attend our February 27seminar, Mapping Your Student’s College Future: Insightful College Selection and Financing. To register, just submit the form at

Who Can Raise $1 Billion?
Harvard, of course! According to the Wall Street Journal, “the wealthiest schools continued to attract the most new money,” with overall giving up by 6.3% in 2017. The Crimson raised $1.28 billion, followed closely by Stanford at $1.13 billion. In third place was Cornell, which scooped up over $740 million in 2017. Donations consisted of cash, stock, art and other property.

Harvard can tap into its extensive alumni network.

Hot Colleges
When I discuss public research universities with families, the University of Wisconsin-Madison often comes up. And what happens when a spirited college has curriculum, sports and location to match? Its popularity grows. According to the Daily Cardinal, application volume soared by 20% in Wisconsin’s second year on the Common App. Notably, out-of-state student volume was up 29%. In the article, André Phillips, Director of Admissions Recruitment, explains: “Adding more out-of-state students has a financial benefit for the university. Non-resident students pay $34,783 in tuition, compared with $10,533 for in-state students.”

On Wisconsin? Or should it be In Wisconsin!

Speaking of the middle of our country, the Journal took a look at the “Top Colleges in the Midwest for Student Engagement.” The leader wasn’t Wisconsin or Michigan but rather Dordt College, Iowa, affiliated with Christian Reformed Church. (By student engagement, the Journal takes into account “students’ views on things such as interactions with faculty and other students, the effectiveness of teaching and whether students would recommend their school.”) The list included two popular colleges with New Jersey students: Washington University in St. Louis, tied for third place, and Miami University (Ohio), tied for sixth.

Wash U tied for third in student engagement among Midwest colleges.

Business Insider is always a good source of scoops on colleges, and this week was no exception. In “Seven Things College Admissions Officers Wish Every Applicant Knew,” an article cited former admissions officers who are now independent counselors. Here are notable takeaways.

  • From a former admissions officer at UChicago: “Admissions officers really care about the students for whom they advocate, but often it comes down to the needs of the school and the desire to have a well-rounded incoming class.”
  • From a former admissions officer at Dartmouth: “It’s not enough just to be smart at top schools. Students must also show that they’ll be good classmates and community builders.”
  • From a former admissions officer at MIT: “A college interview is your chance to bring some more color and personality to your application.”
  • “Whether it’s in the admissions office, during an interview, or on your application, indicating interest in a school is essential.”
  • “Do not be dismissive of or assume that the professionals answering phone calls or e-mail correspondence do not have any influence on the admissions process (they have a lot more impact on an applicant’s candidacy than one might expect).”

Taking all these insights into account, I encourage students to create a list with varying levels of difficulty, be unique in their essay writing, spend time on their supplements, use social media wisely, and make a ZeeMee to show admissions officers the face behind the essay. (Wash U, featured above, is a ZeeMee partner!)

Surge Pricing
Who said that surge pricing only applied to transit? At the University of Delaware, there’s a new pricing plan that attaches a premium to students at the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, the College of Engineering or the School of Nursing. According to a release from the Fighin’ Blue Hens, “The new charges will be phased in over time. All the colleges will start with a $1,000 increase in 2018-19, but by 2020-21, business students will pay an additional $2,500 per year, nursing students an additional $1,500 and engineering students $4,000 . . . The payment model is built on the premise that some programs, such as engineering, cost universities more to provide because they require state-of-the-art facilities, labs and equipment.”

Top Colleges for Financial Aid
With all this talk of surge pricing, parents need to know that private colleges can often give extensive financial support to top applicants. According to CNBC, beautiful Bowdoin College tops the list, providing an average freshman scholarship of $42,000. It was followed closely by Vanderbilt, Colgate, and Vassar, another favorite of this college counselor. The lesson: Do not write off a college because of its high sticker price. 

Ready, set, register! The March 10 SAT, very popular with juniors, closes its registration today. There will be more chances to (re)take the SAT, including May, June and August. I recommend students take advantage of those dates rather than carrying testing into the fall. And remember, the best course of action is to take both the SAT and ACT, then repeat the better of the two.

Super Bowl LII
Does Penn ever have the spirit! To honor the champion Philadelphia Eagles, Penn cancelled classes, activities and even the admissions office yesterday. No doubt they’re open today; there are just too many apps to read.

Have questions about the college process? Email me to schedule a call or meeting.

Contact Me
Nina Berler
(201) 859-3665 ext. 119
2018-02-09T14:50:15+00:00 February 9th, 2018|
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