strategies for successful college applications

Did you know that colleges buy lists of students’ names every year?  The colleges place orders for the number of names they need that meet certain criteria (geography, GPA and interests to name a few).  The colleges pay by the name.  Both the College Board and ACT have long been the sources for these lists of names.

This is actually a good first step in matching students with the schools whose criteria they meet.

There are two new companies that are trying to help make the matching even better using a Facebook-type model.  This approach allows the student to be much more proactive in getting their information out to schools.

Zinch is an online social network that connects students and their parents with admissions recruiters and other students – and about $2 billion in scholarships.  If students and their friends win scholarships applied for through Zinch, those winnings will be matched by Zinch!

The Zinch slogan is “I am more than a test score”. The people at Zinch help students give colleges additional information beyond the standardized test scores – which are sometimes the primary criteria by which they are judged. Over 800 colleges and universities are working with Zinch.

Students create a free account on Zinch and input as full a profile as they want.  These profiles are private and accessible only to those authorized by the student.  Students can also do a “shout out” to colleges that interest them.

Zinch allows students to showcase their talents, skills and passions to colleges and universities in advance of the actual application process.  It offers colleges and universities admissions officers the ability to search through Zinch’s database and generate a list of students who match their criteria.


Cappex is also a new company and very similar to Zinch, with a couple of important differences.  Students create a profile, but with less detail than Zinch’s profile. Colleges submit their criteria.  Cappex does not give a list of student names to the colleges, rather they give the students a list of colleges whose criteria fit the student.  This allows the student to decide which colleges to contact, and gives the student control. Cappex does not charge the colleges or students.  Cappex plans to support the site through advertising.

Cappex also provides scholarship searches and information, but they do not appear to offer matching funds.  There is a “What Are My Chances?” Calculator that instantly tells a student the chances of admission to a specific college. That sure beats a parent or high school guidance counselor having to break that kind of news to the student!

Cappex claims that almost 1,800 colleges are using their services.

Zinch and Cappex