...from GuidedPath Edge Guru

Seniors: Using First Choice Aid Strategy

first choice aid strategy

If you did not do Early Decision, you have probably have several college offers, and more coming this month. You love all your schools, but one in particular stands out to you and is your first choice school. You wonder if you can afford the school. Now is the time to use the “First Choice” Strategy.  Using this strategy can help increase the amount of money you receive from your first choice school.  This strategy works best if YOU, the student, contacts the school, rather than parents or a counselor.

Goal: To get the best possible offer from your first choice school.


1. Choose another school with a better money offer. It can be more grants or scholarships. Less parent loans, work-study, etc.

2. Write a letter. Send it both as an email and a physical letter. Contact your first choice school and let them know, in a polite and respectful way, you have another offer. Your letter could look like this:

Dear Office of Admissions at xxxx school.

I am so excited to be an admitted student for the fall of 2016. I …. (visited, talked to an admissions representative, etc.) and feel xxxx school offers me everything I need as an incoming freshman student. You are my top choice school.

I received an award from your admissions (or financial aid office) in the amount of $.xxxxx. I appreciate this offer. However, I received an offer from XXXX school, in the amount of  $xxxx. With college so expensive, it is hard to turn down the generous offer of this other school.  Is there anything else you can recommend for me in terms of financial resources to attend your school?

[Enter what would make a difference here- less parent loan, more work study, more merit awards, etc.]  

I look forward to hearing from you. I want to be a xxxxx (enter school’s mascot) next year.


your name and contact information

3. Follow up.  Follow up your letter with a call to the college admissions or financial aid office within a week of sending your letter.  The college will be glad to hear from you. Let them know time is pressing, and ask when you might hear from them.

This strategy, done politely and respectfully, lets the college know you are serious about attending, and gives them an opportunity to consider any additional resources.

Limit: One

Use this strategy only on the school you really want to go to. If you are successful in receiving more funds, you should attend that college.

Be sure to enter all your financial awards in under Decisions.  Use the Cost Comparisons tool to compare total costs and check for best awards.