Invitation to apply emails

My daughter has received some “Invitation to Apply” emails from colleges that link to a special application page. Is there a clear advantage to going through this link as opposed to the Common App in terms of merit money/admissions?


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Some will provide a simplified application process (compared to the common app application). But you’re not going to boost your chances of acceptance.

@Nicoley73 - some of them make it easier to apply. Short for application, etc. I don’t think applying with their form of common app makes any difference in terms of money/admissions. However, while some are just random marketing for others it could be a signal that your D has a profile that they are interested in and depending of the profile you might receive an above average merit package for that school.

For whatever school you are evaluating, loot through their common data set information on Financial Aid. How many students are receiving non-need based aid? What’s the average non-need based package and where do you sit in terms of profile for the school? From there you can at least get some directional information regarding what you might expect in terms of merit (really discount tuition).

An invitation sounds lovely, right? It’s just a way for colleges to get kids to apply, one way or another.


Some of them will be no essay or LORs required so it will seem easier.

But if you have them in common app why waste them.

My son applied to UMN and School of Mines but did not use the special apps.

Be sure your daughter understands this is just advertising, no different from the credit card solicitations you receive every month. For selective and very-selective schools it does not mean she has a better chance of admission because they sent her the ad.

The College Board lets schools target HS students based on any number of criteria. They might want more kids from areas of the country where they would like more apps, or from kids with high test scores, or from kids living in zipcodes where parents are more likely to be full-pay. You just don’t know why you got picked for the ad.


They may come with an application fee waiver. That would be a benefit if you were planning on applying.


Yes, this reminds me of when my son received mailers from Harvard and U Chicago. Old saying about a freezing day in a certain hot place comes to mind, because there was zero chance of him ever getting into those schools. Not that he would have bothered. However, he had a very good ACT score, so they decided to flatter him :laughing:

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These are not highly selective schools. They are schools that she has indicated interest in by selecting them in the Common App, and she intends to apply to.

Some of them do offer a more streamlined process by eliminating even letters of recommendation. One offer claims that she would get priority consideration for merit scholarships - which we are in need of. At the same time, her letters of recommendation will be a strong part of her application so would prefer to include them.

Sometimes, there is an advantage. Simpler application, no application fee, essay not required, etc. But I honestly do not know if that helps to be admitted. But it is just marketing. My son applied to a college 6 weeks ago, the full application is in, received an email they will start reviewing in October, and received a letter this week, they would like to consider him for admission, and if you use this code in the common app, your application will be expedited and received automatic scholarship consideration. (his application was submitted in time for auto merit)

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This is correct. They always say use either their app or common and tell you how to get your app for free on common. They also give you the option to include the essay.

We used the regular common app because you look better including the essay and LOR.

Pure marketing for them to get more apps.


By all means, take advantage of any incentive that will save time and money, and offer a chance at a scholarships. But It doesn’t matter if it’s Harvard or Directional State U, they are all looking for ways to get kids to apply.

Taking Stevens Insitute of Technology as an example, they send out “priority application” invites to high stat students. It’s simpler than the Common App and doesn’t require an LOR. But aside from that the “priority” label is misleading because you don’t get an earlier decision and the students I know who were accepted would have been accepted regardless, on the strength of their application even if they had simply used the regular application.

RPI does the same thing and agree that it’s misleading because there is no difference to the time line. D just used the common app for all of the schools and got them in early.

Yes, we have one of those emails right now