One Call Can Increase Admissions Chances 40%

Weeks or months after your daughter has finished up all her college applications, you may find yourself wondering, “Is there anything else she can do to increase admissions chances—well after her applications have been submitted?”

Yes there is.

Research shows that one phone call can increase admissions chances 40% at many colleges.

increase admissions chances

How can a phone call increase admissions chances?

Let’s say your daughter has her eye on a favorite college for all the right reasons. It’s not necessarily a top-ranked university, but it is a private college where her grades, test scores, targeted volunteering, job shadowing, and well-thought-through career goals could make her a great candidate for merit aid (free college money that need never be paid back). This is exactly the kind of college you’d most like to have your daughter attend.

A college like this might love to have your daughter as a student—because she’ll enrich their campus experience for hundreds of others. But the admissions committee looks at her application, and hesitates.

The admissions committee worries. What if they accept your daughter, and then she turns them down? 

Gulp. If the college accepts her and then she turns them down, this’ll be bad news for the college, because it’ll diminish their yield. (Yield is an important statistic that reveals what percentage of accepted students actually enroll at that college. Colleges want their yield percentage to be high.)

Your daughter presents a little bit of a risk for this college. She’s not a genius with perfect SAT scores by any means, but she’s a decent candidate. What if she’s only applied to this college as her safety school—and she has little interest in actually attending?

Students can greatly increase admissions chances by showing “demonstrated interest.”

If your daughter would love to attend this college, have her call the college admissions office, ask three or four interested questions about the school, and express excitement about attending. If she does this, she’ll greatly increase her chances of being accepted (and being awarded free money merit aid to boot). Are you wondering what kinds of questions she could ask in this phone call? You can get my free printable list of fantastic questions to ask colleges, here.

As icing on the cake, at the end of the call, your daughter could increase admissions chances even more by asking to schedule a first or second college visit. (If you do plan a college visit, look over my list of college visit mistakes before you go.)

“This is so simple! Can this really help increase admissions chances?”

According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 50% of four-year colleges report that they view demonstrated interest as having “considerable importance” or “moderate importance”  on their admission decisions.

So, yes.

“How can we figure out whether a certain college offers merit aid?”

Head over to Type the name of a college into the search bar. Look to the right on the scroll bar. The percentage under “Merit” is the percentage of students who receive free money merit aid at that college.

“Jeannie, why are you talking about private colleges here? What about state universities?”

You can see the helpful article I’ve written about state universities here.

“We’ve not yet filled out college applications. How can we target the colleges most likely to give our kid free money merit aid?”

If your child has not yet applied to college and you’re wondering how to pick colleges most likely to hand your ordinary child free money merit aid that need never be paid back, be sure to read pages 153–184 of my book:

Get 10-minute, fast-paced video instruction on how to use this book most efficiently at

You can see more than 100 reviews of it on Amazon at:

(Tell your friends.)

You can see why financial advising professionals love LAUNCHhere.

You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCHhere.

Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.

And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.

Take a step on this right now. Get regular, inspiring help from me—every Monday morning.

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What about you? What strategies have you found for increasing admissions chances, besides just improving grades and test scores?

Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski? 

Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26 and their parents and grandparents. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, Parents Magazineand US News and World Report, and on CBS News.

Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.