College Applications & Inside Info: FAFSA Order

I’ve helped my students apply to over 30 colleges this past school year. From drama supplements to writing supplements, transfer applications to the Universal Application, I’ve seen a lot. One thing I know is that the application process rarely goes smoothly – there are too many different elements to the applications, combined with multiple ways those elements can go wrong. Curveballs are the norm, not the exception.

One of the most amazing curveballs I read about this year is how the FAFSA form can impact acceptance rates. Put simply:

On the FAFSA form, you list the schools to which you are applying. The order in which you list them matters! Some schools believe that the order in which you list the schools is the order of their importance to you.

Not all schools use the FAFSA form this way, but it is sure a good thing to know about – because if your top school uses it this way, but you randomly listed your favorite school in the last position on the FAFSA form, whoa!

Bottom line: on the FAFSA form, place your top-ranked school in the number one spot, and list the rest of your schools in order of importance.