The Edge Our college admission blog

Three Traits That Make You An Ideal Recruit To College Coaches

by Admitster March 30, 2016


Here’s another great guest blog post from our friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting!

When we talk about finding the college that’s the right fit for you, we often discuss three important areas: the academic fit, the athletic fit, and the social fit. Conversely, we need to remember that coaches are also looking at whether you are an ideal recruit for their program. This is because at the same time that coaches are looking for student-athletes who will be the right fit — those who will say yes to an offer to join their roster — they’re also looking for recruits who say no, whether it’s explicitly, in an email or a phone call, or implicitly.

Here are some ways to be an ideal recruit, one who doesn’t unintentionally signal no to a coach.

An ideal recruit is honest about the right fit.

That “right fit” question is a two-way street. Are you the right kind of player for the program? Are you the right size for your position? Do you race at the speeds that the team requires?

At the same time, is the college/university right for you? Are you going to benefit from the school’s academics? Is the campus social scene a place where you can see yourself fitting in? Furthermore, if you’re from Wisconsin and you know that you don’t want to have to fly back and forth from home to college, talking to coaches on one of the coasts probably won’t serve you well in terms “best fit”, no matter how great a program the coach offers.

An ideal recruit is respectful in his/her communication with college coaches.

Depending on where you are in the recruiting process, you might be receiving questionnaires, form letters, e-mails, or even phone calls from coaches. Often there are strict rules that govern when a college coach is able to communicate with student-athletes.

The important thing for you to know is that no matter how far along you are in the recruiting process, being respectful to college coaches, and replying in a timely fashion to any type of communication you receive, is paramount.

Again, some coaches are searching for the “no”. Many student-athletes are intimidated by the prospect of saying no to a college coach, which makes a lot of sense given that a coach is someone who student-athletes, in general, deeply respect and want to impress. You should remember, however, that if a college coach has to hunt you down because you’re not being respectful in your communication or being proactive in reaching out to him/her, then your chances of being recruited by that coach are slim. In all likelihood, there are more ideal recruits who are signalling a deeper interest in that program than you are!

So, if you want to keep a door open (and we recommend that you never burn bridges with any college coaches!) then communicate clearly with coaches and behave in a manner that is respectful.

An ideal recruit is courageous and is a leader.

Coach Sue Enquist tells us that the number one trait coaches want to see in their athletes is courage: the courage to get to practice early, to work harder than your teammates while you’re there, and to stay late when you need to.



The courageous student-athlete is one who knows what the right thing to do is for him/herself, but is also able to convince/show peers what the right thing to do is:

“If you want to separate yourself in the recruiting process, start right now practicing your courage. It’s not easy. It’s so much easier in high school to go with the flow, fit right in. Just take little baby steps to work on your courage. Step out, step up, and be the one that others will follow.”

Be honest, be respectful, be courageous — and you’ll be more like the ideal recruit than ever before.

We’d love to chat with you about what kind of schools will think you’re the ideal recruit for their rosters. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile!

What Is IDOC?

by Admitster March 29, 2016


I’m happy to welcome back to the blog Blaine Blontz, Admitster’s knowledgeable Financial Aid Consultant! Blaine is the founder of Financial Aid Coach, one of the country’s leading financial aid consulting firms, and has helped countless families to navigate the complex and oftentimes confusing financial aid process. If you have any financial aid questions, you can reach him at e-mail address

So you’ve submitted the CSS Profile, which certainly wouldn’t be mistaken for a short application, and you feel some sense of accomplishment. You’ve finished the financial aid process!

But wait, on the confirmation page you see that there could be other documents requested from schools. And there are these four letters that CSS Profile schools keep mentioning:


So what is IDOC? Well, it’s short for Institutional Documentation Service, and it’s the official online system that the College Board uses to collect families’ federal tax returns and other documents on behalf of participating colleges and programs. If you applied to several CSS Profile schools, chances are good that you will need to submit some documents via IDOC.

GirlsAtComputerTo log in, simply follow this link. Don’t worry, you DO NOT need all three pieces of information to log in. While most families won’t know their IDOC ID, that’s OK. You can simply use the student’s social security number and date of birth to log in. You’ll then be taken to a screen that lists the tax forms that are required and the schools that are requiring them. While you have the option to mail these forms to the College Board to submit directly, it’s recommended that you scan and upload the forms instead.

Here are the common forms requested by schools via IDOC. These examples are for those applying for the 2016-17 school year:

  • Parent 2015 tax return
  • Parent 2015 W-2
  • Parent 2015 1099s
  • Student 2015 tax return
  • Student 2015 W-2
  • Student 2015 1099s
  • Non-Custodial Parent 2015 tax return (if applicable)

Some schools will also request other forms. You’ll also need to complete steps even if you don’t have the forms listed. For example, if the student wasn’t required to file taxes, they will still need to complete, sign and upload a non-filer form provided through IDOC.

One thing to note is the request that all files scanned and uploaded be less than 9 MB in size. Some of these documents are going to be fairly long in terms of pages, and thus they will take up significant file size. One trick to this is to use a tool like Small PDF to compress the files to a more manageable size in order to allow for upload.

So, there you have it. That’s what schools mean when they refer to IDOC. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions related to this or other financial aid matters!

Women’s Colleges

by Katie Z, Ph.D March 20, 2016


As you may or may not know, there are a number of different types of colleges and universities out there. For instance, some students may seek to apply to a historically black college or university (such as Morehouse College), a hispanic-serving institution, a tribal college or university, or a school with a specific religious affiliation. Today, however, we turn our gaze to women’s colleges.

OnCampus3There are a number of reasons why a student may consider applying to a women’s college, first and foremost of which is the fact that she is a woman (or perhaps a transgender student – see, for instance, “When Women Become Men at Wellesley” and “Where Do Their Loyalties Lie?“). Secondly, many have commented that they are motivated to apply to a women’s college in order to be inspired by powerful women. For example, from Barnard College‘s website: “Through it all, our students have the great fortune to be surrounded by women mentors and role models—in the faculty, throughout the College leadership, and among our outstanding alumnae who are an endless source of inspiration.” Others believe that they would be more likely to thrive at an institution where gender bias is far less of an issue. Also of note, from the Women’s College Coalition website, is that women’s colleges “have educated a higher percentage of low-income, racially diverse and first-generation students than traditional co-ed colleges and universities, public or private, for more than a decade.”

Furthermore, alumni of women’s colleges have shined a very positive light on their experiences as undergraduates and on life post-graduation. A 2012 report entitled “What Matters in College After College“, for instance, reported that 81% of alumni from women’s colleges believed that their alma mater had been “extremely or very effective” in preparing them for future employment. Furthermore, 72% of respondents reported that they had “benefited very much from a safe campus environment.” Graduates of women’s colleges were also more likely to have completed their undergraduate studies in four years or less (87% at women’s colleges versus 79% at liberal arts colleges versus 54% at flagship public universities), and were nearly twice as likely to go on to complete a graduate degree as their counterparts at public universities (51% versus 27%). A few other things you should know about if you’re considering applying to a women’s college?

Colleges With Women’s Undergraduate Programs

Agnes Scott College – Georgia

Alverno College – Wisconsin

Barnard College – New York

Bay Path University – Massachusetts

Bennett College – North Carolina

Brenau University – Campuses in Georgia and Florida

Bryn Mawr College – Pennsylvania

Cedar Crest College – Pennsylvania

College of Saint Benedict – Minnesota

College of Saint Mary – Nebraska

Colorado Women’s College – Colorado

Columbia College – South Carolina

Converse College – South Carolina

Cottey College – Missouri

Douglass Residential College – New Jersey

Hollins University – Virginia

Judson College – Alabama

Mary Baldwin College – Virginia

Meredith College – North Carolina

Midway University – Kentucky

Mills College – California

Moore College of Art & Design – Pennsylvania

Mount Holyoke College – Massachusetts

Mount Mary University – Wisconsin

Notre Dame of Maryland University – Maryland

Russell Sage College – New York

Saint Mary’s College – Indiana

Salem College – North Carolina

Scripps College – California

Simmons College – Massachusetts

Smith College – Massachusetts

Spelman College – Georgia

St. Catherine University – Minnesota

Stephens College – Missouri

Sweet Briar College – Virginia

Trinity Washington University – Washington D.C.

University of Saint Joseph – Connecticut

Wellesley College – Massachusetts

Wesleyan College – Georgia

Enough With College Bashing

by Admitster March 17, 2016


We are fortunate to have as our guest blogger today Debra Isaacs Schafer, a work/life consultant and special education adviser who works nationwide with parents of children from elementary school through college to help them effectively advocate for their children’s needs in school. She is the CEO and Founder of Education Navigation, LLC, which provides special education services as a company benefit for working parents who have children, teens, and young adults with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, learning disabilities, and mental health issues. She also coaches high school students and their parents on the college preparation process and provides assistance to college students in need of accommodations and other supports. You can reach her at:Debra      @EdNavigation      

Is anyone else getting a bit tired of the increasing level of college bashing going on lately?

Full disclosure: I support college and the students striving for it, struggling to stay in it, and those who successfully complete their degrees.

This being said, I also recognize that college isn’t for every high school student and that some do pursue other paths. Yet the message that seems to be coming through at an increasingly loud volume today is that a college degree isn’t necessary for a career, for financial success (and I’m not talking about the 19-year-olds who find themselves moving quickly to an IPO for the tech firm they started in their dorms), or even for one’s own sense of accomplishment. Like every institution, there will be different perspectives depending upon the experiences of those providing them. While I support taking all viewpoints into consideration, there’s a big difference between sharing thoughts and basically trashing the institution entirely.

There’s no question about it – college has reached a tipping point when it comes to costs and access, and there is also much debate as to whether our high schools are effectively preparing our children for college. Yet to state or infer that college has long overstayed its welcome or to convey to young people that it isn’t worth their time or investment (defined many ways), discouraging them from pursuing the goal of a college education, is quite another thing entirely.

IvyI know few parents who, in their children’s earliest years, did not already have the hope for college on the horizon, and many started stashing away what cash they could while their children were just learning to read. It mattered little whether it was community college or a four-year university, or whether enrollment took place a few short months after high school graduation or after a gap year. College has been — and continues to be — a goal shared by millions of parents and their children. And why shouldn’t it be?

Let’s be honest…no parent (including this one) wants to see their child in debt that they’ll be struggling to pay down until they reach retirement. Few parents send their children to college expecting four years of binge drinking and failing grades. And most parents raise their children to understand that anything worth achieving requires hard work and sacrifice. Yet the choir seems to be singing the tune that college isn’t worth any of it.

Here’s how I see it. College is the time in a young person’s life when they’re encouraged to explore new areas, to challenge their assumptions, to engage in discussions that stretch their thinking, and to collaborate with people — professors and students alike — who expand their horizons. It’s a time when learning occurs in ways that exposes young people to experiences that form the foundation for what comes next…life. And it’s the time when children grow into young adults in ways that cannot be measured by a paycheck.

There’s no question that college isn’t for everyone. Many successful people do well without it and many make other choices. A man I worked with many years ago personified success — several homes, foreign cars, vast travel, philanthropic efforts, etc. Late one afternoon, he shared with me his greatest regret in life: Not attending college. No matter his achievements, and there were many, the fact that he didn’t attend college was the thing that overshadowed all else.

Every person has a different life path. College has been and remains one aspired to and chosen by many. Of course the “real life” issues of cost and expansion of access require our immediate attention, but losing sight of the things that are more difficult to measure and quantify (e.g. that college prepares young people to enter and sustain themselves in an educated, diverse, capable, flexible, and collaborative society) is doing them a terrible disservice.

It’s true that not all goals are achievable. Yet some goals and the experiences that come with achieving them frame and remain with us forever. The people we become — our jobs, titles, and income — may help to define us well into adulthood, yet college sets the tone for what comes next. Few other things in life have the same lasting power.

How To Add More Than Ten Schools To The FAFSA

by Admitster March 11, 2016


I’m pleased to welcome back to the blog Blaine Blontz, Admitster’s Financial Aid Consultant extraordinaire! Blaine is the founder of Financial Aid Coach, one of the country’s leading financial aid consulting firms, and has helped countless families to navigate the complex and oftentimes confusing financial aid process. Today he’s writing with great information about how to add more than ten schools to the FAFSA – read on! 

We recently published our 2016-17 Guide to the FAFSA. While it covers many topics, including the new FAFSA ID, it doesn’t mention a common question of many families who are completing the form. This question deserves its own post! When families are adding schools to the FAFSA, they quickly realize that they are only able to account for ten institutions. Double digits may be more than enough for some families, but others are considering more than ten schools.

What do you do? Do you have to pick the top ten schools from your list and move on? Is FAFSA forcing you to whittle down your pool of options?

No and nope.

You should select ten schools from your list, with no rhyme or reasoning other than recommended submission deadlines posted by the schools, complete the remaining FAFSA questions, and then submit the form. Soon after submitting, you will receive the SAR (Student Aid Report). Receiving the SAR gives you the green light to move on to the second step of this process.

This next step provides you with three options. You can manually edit the FAFSA by logging back in and making corrections. This is what we recommend to the families who we work with. If you’d prefer, however, you can call the other schools directly, or you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center and have them complete the process for you, after answering a few questions.



If you want to manually edit the FAFSA, here’s what you need to do. After logging back into the FAFSA and selecting that you’d like to make corrections, you will go back to the screen that allows you to add/remove schools. First, you should remove the number of remaining schools that have yet to receive your FAFSA. That is, if you have submitted the FAFSA to ten schools but have sixteen total schools that you are considering, you’ll want to remove six of the original ten schools. This allows you the correct number of open spots that you can then fill with the remaining schools on your list. You should add these schools, either through the search feature or by looking up the school’s FAFSA code, and then you’ll finalize the process by submitting the FAFSA once again.

What if you have more than twenty schools? You guessed it. Simply rinse and repeat after you receive your updated SAR. It’s important to remember that you’ll need to repeat this process if you make further corrections to your FAFSA or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in order to submit your completed tax information.

Happy FAFSA-ing!

If you have any financial aid questions, feel free to reach out to Blaine at e-mail address


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