FAQ College: Frequently Asked Questions about College Admissions and Costs

Question of the Week: What is a likely letter?

person raising hand in classA “likely letter” is a letter from the college admissions office stating that you are likely to be admitted as long as nothing changes before the official admissions deadline. They are not formal offers of admissions–just notices that students are very “likely” to be admitted. Students receive likely letters a month or two before the regular admissions decision deadline.

Likely letters are common for athletic recruits to the Ivy League. Since Ivy League schools don’t award athletic scholarships, they use likely letters as a means to indicate to the athlete that they will be accepted at the school. According to Tier One Athletics, “it varies from between sports and schools, but 2/3 to 3/4 of the varsity athletes in the Ivy League are Likely Letter recruits. ”

However, it isn’t only athletes that receive likely letters. According to the Harvard Crimson, the admissions office sent out 300 likely letters in 2011 and 100 of them were addressed to non-athletes. Instead of offering these students early admissions, they receive likely letters. At Brown, approximately 1/5 of the class receives likely letter with about half sent to athletes.

It’s not just Ivy League schools that send out likely letters. The University of Virginia also sends out likely letters. Other schools that send out versions of the likely letter are Smith, Clark, and Grinnell.

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FAQ College Money Issues

Do I have to report outside scholarships to the financial aid office?

Do I need to be admitted to a college before I can apply for financial aid?

Do parents automatically qualify for PLUS loans?

FAQ: Are scholarships taxable?

FAQ: Can I appeal my financial aid award?

FAQ: Can I send the FAFSA to more than 10 schools?

FAQ: Do students get the same amount of financial aid every year?

FAQ: Does Applying For Financial Aid Hurt Your College Admissions Chances?

FAQ: Does home equity affect financial aid?

FAQ: How do I become an Independent student for financial aid?

FAQ: How do you get in-state tuition?

FAQ: I won't qualify for financial aid, why should I fill out the FAFSA?

FAQ: I won’t qualify for financial aid, why should I fill out the FAFSA?

FAQ: If my EFC is 0 does that mean I can go to college for free?

FAQ: What are Net Price Calculators?

FAQ: What is college average net price?

FAQ: What is financial aid gapping?

FAQ: What is merit aid?

FAQ: What is self-help financial aid?

How will I get my financial aid?

I can't afford private school tuition, why should I even bother applying?

Is there a limit to the number of years I can get financial aid?

My parents are divorced. Which parent do I use for my FAFSA?

Should I apply to colleges I don't think I can afford?

What are 529 plans?

What are private education loans?

What are the different types of financial aid?

What are the federal student loan programs?

What are the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant requirements?

What federal grants are available for undergraduates?

What is a PLUS loan?

What is EFC (Expected Family Contribution)?

What is financial aid preferential packaging?

What is financial aid?

What is need-based aid?

What is the CSS PROFILE?

What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

What is the FAFSA?

What is the Federal Methodology?

What is the financial aid SAR (Student Aid Report)?

What is tuition discounting?

What is work-study?

What's the difference between average net price and cost of attendance?

When do I apply for financial aid?

Where can I find scholarships?

Who is eligible to receive financial aid?

FAQ College Admissions Testing

Are there any free SAT/ACT test prep resources?

FAQ: Do I Need to Take Both the SAT and ACT?

FAQ: How many times should a student take the SAT or ACT?

FAQ: What is a good ACT score?

How do I convert my SAT scores to an ACT equivalent (or my ACT scores to the SAT)?

Should I apply to colleges where my test scores will be low?

What are SAT Subject Tests?

What are test optional colleges?

What is a good SAT score?

What is superscoring?

What is the PSAT?

When Should You Take the SAT?


FAQ College General

Are college campus visits necessary?

Do I have to major in the sciences to get into medical school?

FAQ: Can I go to college with less than a 3.0 high school GPA?

FAQ: How important are extracurricular activities in college admissions?

FAQ: My high school doesn't offer AP classes, will it hurt me in admissions?

FAQ: What are the different college calendar types?

FAQ: What is a 3-2 engineering program?

FAQ: What is a flagship university?

FAQ: What is a likely letter?

FAQ: What is a Public Ivy?

FAQ: What is a stealth applicant?

FAQ: What is a suitcase school?

FAQ: What is a Tier 1 school? (university or college)

FAQ: What is the difference between an honors college and an honors program?

FAQ: What is the difference between public and private colleges?

FAQ: What's the difference between a college and a university?

How do I get the most out of a college fair?

How do I know if a college is too hard for me to get into?

How important are grades in admissions?

How many colleges should you apply to

Should I avoid Liberal Arts Colleges if I'm interested in science?

Should I Live on Campus or Off?

Should students apply to "reach" colleges?

What are articulation agreements?

What are college retention rates?

What are independent college counselors?

What are learning communities?

What are residential colleges?

What does "need blind" admissions mean?

What is a first-year experience?

What is a gap year?

What is a Liberal Arts College (LAC)?

What is a safety school?

What is a weighted GPA?

What is an academic resume for college admissions?

What is demonstrated interest?

What is the Academic Common Market?

What is the Common Application?

What is the Common Data Set

What is the difference between early action and early decision?

When should I start visiting colleges?











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