Regular Admission

Regular admission is a good choice for students who are unsure where they would like to go. One advantage is that it can help students who have improved their grades substantially in the fall of their senior year, since decisions are not made until March of senior year. In addition, it offers students more time to make their decision about a college under somewhat less pressure than an early method. The fairly dominant view is that regular admission is more likely to result in higher offers of financial aid, particularly if students are admitted to several institutions that present different aid offers. Accordingly, one offer can be used as leverage to try to get a better offer at another institution, particularly if there are competing multiple acceptances. Several reports suggested that a "growing number of colleges" including Harvard, Cornell, and Carnegie-Mellon have stated publicly that they will consider matching offers from competing colleges. Kim Clark explained:

If you want to go to Cornell ... and you don't think your family can afford the full sticker prices ... you are likely to get bigger scholarships if you also apply--and get in--to wealthy and more competitive schools. ... Cornell will now adopt Harvard's definition of "need," which, in many cases, will mean bigger scholarships.
-- report in US News, 2010

However, a dissenting view in the New York Times suggested that only one to two percent of colleges adjust aid packages based on offers from competing colleges, and that most colleges do not get into bidding wars over specific students.