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Articles / Applying to College / Can one college acceptance be used to expedite another?

Can one college acceptance be used to expedite another?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Dec. 16, 2007

Question: My daughter has been accepted to a college that is a "competitor" of the college that she really wants to get into. Is it appropriate for us to contact the admissions office of the college that she most wants and let them know that she has an offer from somewhere else? We're hoping that maybe it would prompt them to respond more quickly and make her an offer.

It sounds as if you're still waiting for a verdict from your daughter's top-choice college, right? In that case, it would NOT be appropriate for you to use the kind of leverage you propose. College admission officials won't respond well to such strong-arm tactics, and this could work against your child.

However, if, eventually, your daughter is accepted at both schools and receives a better financial aid package from the #2 college, then it's okay to use that figure to try to cajole more money from the #1 school, especially if you feel that their offer makes it difficult--or impossible--for your daughter to enroll. Similarly, if she is wait-listed at the #1 school, then it's go-for-broke time. She can write a heart-felt (and possibly humorous) letter to the admission folks there explaining that she will be doomed to choose the competitor college, if she doesn't get bumped off their waiting list.

But, for now, you will not help your daughter's chances--and you may even hurt them--if you take the approach you've suggested.

Good luck to your daughter--and to you---as she awaits her news.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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