Posted in HS4CC

College without an Application

This was in my inbox today. It’s a daily newsletter written by higher ed. professionals that goes out to higher ed. professions (in other words- NOT the general public). Let’s talk about admissions…. sure the content of the article is interesting, but look beyond that.

You hear me say this daily: it’s easy getting into college, getting out is hard. Parents are skeptical of me when I make that statement because it goes against the popular college propaganda.

Of the nearly 4,000 colleges and universities, over half are open enrollment. That means you simply fill out the application and are immediately accepted. Of the remaining half, most accept close to 90% of all applicants. There are a small few that don’t (because they are bombarded by zillions of applications for a small number of openings) but that tippy top mentality makes us fearful that getting into college is hard. It isn’t. Colleges NEED YOUR ENROLLMENT.

But, college is a huge cost, and it’s not easy to convince someone to drop a quarter million dollars, so colleges complete with each other. Part of the competition is by marketing to YOU. Colleges are sophisticated marketers, and by presenting the illusion that we would be LUCKY to have the opportunity to attend, they make us feel desperate to gain admissions (which they rely on you feeling so you’re willing to pay $$$$$ and borrow $$$$$).

So, I realize most of you don’t have time to subscribe to newsletters like this, but I like picking through them and finding little gems. Remember, this is written for ADMISSIONS directors/deans, not for prospective students.

This is a direct link to the article. (free account creation required) The text highlights are mine, this is a full copy/paste.


Movement grows with a second company offering a service in which students create profiles and colleges admit them.

Scott Jaschik
July 11, 2022

Davis & Elkins College is a small institution (a little more than 700 students) in a beautiful part of West Virginia, surrounded by the Allegheny Highlands. Like most colleges, it admits most of those who apply. This year, the college admitted about 700 students of the 975 applicants, aiming for a class of 250 to 300.

In the fall, the college plans to consider some students who haven’t actually applied for admission at all. They will be students who have created profiles through Sage Scholars, which has offered a service since 1995 to help students afford college. This year, in addition to presenting students whom colleges might want to recruit to apply, Sage will also offer some of its several hundred members the chance to look at the profiles (which will contain the interests, grades and test scores of students who have them) and admit students directly. (Jennifer’s note: this means the COLLEGE will look, not the students)

Rosemary M. Thomas, executive vice president at Davis & Elkins, said, “I think it is a great way for students to explore all sorts of options.” One thing will be missing: “They aren’t going to get a rejection letter. It takes away the fear of failure.”

By creating a profile, “you are just saying ‘I’m interested in college.’”

Thomas said she could see admitting 25 to 30 students this way during the first year of the program, and more later. She doesn’t think it will totally replace traditional admissions—Davis & Elkins will likely keep that for West Virginia residents. As Thomas said, the college is known in the state but not well-known outside of it. The college will look for profiles of students who say they want to study in West Virginia or a similar environment, or those who value learning outdoors, or who want one of Davis & Elkins’ academic programs (even though they likely won’t have heard of the college).

Sage Scholars expects about 40 to 50 colleges to participate in the program during the first year. James B. Johnston, the president of Sage, said he doesn’t anticipate charging the students to participate, nor the colleges. He doesn’t charge either group to participate in his recruitment and scholarship programs. The money for the 700,000 students in his database comes from businesses. Employers pay to offer Sage as a benefit for all employees to help their children apply to colleges. Financial organizations join as well, for clients. Johnston says this means that his pool of students (not all of whom are high school seniors) thus have a characteristic many colleges seek: they are able to pay for all or a significant part of their college education. He expects that to be a major selling point for his 450 member colleges.

They are private colleges, but most admit a large percentage of their applicants. But the group as a whole includes Rollins College, Centre College, Loyola University New Orleans and the University of Rochester. It doesn’t include the Ivy League or similar institutions.

“Most of those colleges admit a huge percentage of those who actually apply,” said Johnston. Ultimately, he said his message for colleges is “why are you making them go through all this crap?”


The following is a quick look into the enrollment marketing aspect of things. Again a reminder, it is a buyer’s market and colleges are desperate for your student.


Participating Colleges List (450 colleges)

At SAGE Scholars, we believe deeply in the value of private higher education. The Tuition Rewards program is a unique private college marketing and enrollment service that provides a vehicle for member colleges and universities to reach a large exclusive pool of potential students and their families. Our member colleges & universities are able to identify prospective students from families who have signed up for the Tuition Rewards Program.

SAGE Scholars Member College & University Benefits

  • SAGE Scholars Student Database – Member colleges and universities receive unlimited access to the SAGE Scholars database of students once they reach 9th grade.
  • We feature and promote member colleges and universities through the SAGE Scholars websites, which receive millions of views per year. Member college and university profiles feature a logo, photos of campus and student life, summary and mission of college, contact information, web links, and social media links. Along with featured social media promotions and targeted emails to our users.
  • Depth and quality of data — Many students have detailed profile information such as e-mail address, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, activities, majors of interest, varsity sport of interest, ethnicity and the relative importance of attending a college affiliated with a religious denomination.
  • Preformatted student data — Easily download data-sets right into your CRM of students in Excel and CSV formats. Choose all students, only students with email addresses, or subsets based on intended majors.
  • Save money on list rentals — Download our names; then, if they match with names rented from outside list suppliers, typically you’re not obligated to pay for duplicates. By doing this, one member college has saved as much as $1,200 on list rental fees on a single mailing.
  • Expand your marketing & public relations — SAGE Scholars uniquely markets its member colleges and universities to families through financial partners and their distributors, employers, associations, unions and non-profit organizations. Provide a profile, photo gallery, news & scholarships to display (at no charge) to students, families & financial professionals. We will market your college through our Market Cap & Gown website and monthly e-newsletter. You can post news about your college and about your recruiting events on our website.


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit

One thought on “College without an Application

  1. As a WV native, I’m familiar with D&E. I graduated from a similar school in the same area (Alderson-Broaddus) which needs students.

    Degree planning!
    Marketable credentials!

    Keep pounding the drum, friend. Parents NEED to hear it, & students are getting caught in the university marketing “dream school” machine.

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