Q. My high school senior has received offers of a waived application fee from more than 10 colleges and universities -- venerable schools such as Tulane, Rice and Fordham. I thought the application process was big business. Why are they doing this? Does it mean my child has increased chances of being accepted?
A. "The basic idea of these 'select candidate' applications is a very good thing for the student," says Sunil Samuel, director of admission at Hofstra University in Hempstead, which also offers select candidate applications that may involve a waived fee.
The offer likely means the college has seen something in the student that indicates the student might be a good fit for that institution. Perhaps it's an interest in a major the school is trying to build up or a past interaction during high school with a program offered by that university, Samuel says.
Schools make the offer because they want to begin a conversation with the student early in the senior year, Samuel says. "The earlier a student has an engagement with an institution, the higher the possibility that he will attend," Samuel says. Not all schools have such a program, he says.
The fee waiver doesn't necessarily indicate the student has a far greater chance of acceptance, Samuel says: "The student is going to be viewed the same as any other student who applies. It's more of trying to get the student to get started with the application process."