Does It Matter What Colleges You Put On Css

CSS Programming

When it comes to the importance of the order in which you list your colleges on the CSS Profile, I have to say, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Having gone through the college application process myself, I understand the weight of this decision. Let’s dive into the details and explore the significance of the order in which colleges are listed on the CSS Profile.

The Importance of College Order on the CSS Profile

The CSS Profile is the College Scholarship Service Profile, which is used by colleges and universities to determine financial aid packages. The order in which you list colleges on the CSS Profile can impact the distribution of financial aid. Some colleges may use this information to assess your level of interest in their institution, and it might influence the aid they offer. In this sense, the order does matter, but perhaps not in the way many students might think.

There’s a balance to strike here; on one hand, you want to show your genuine interest in each college by listing them in the order that truly reflects your preferences. On the other hand, you also want to consider the potential impact this order might have on the financial aid packages you receive. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, and one that can cause a fair amount of stress for students and parents alike.

My Personal Experience

When I was filling out the CSS Profile, I found myself agonizing over the order in which I listed my colleges. I wanted to be honest about my preferences, but I also didn’t want to jeopardize potential financial aid offers. Ultimately, I decided to list the colleges in an order that truly reflected my priorities, hoping that the financial aid offices would understand my genuine interest in each institution.

Looking back, I can’t say for certain whether the order of my college choices had a significant impact on the aid I received. What I do know is that the process of deciding on the order was a source of anxiety during an already stressful time, and I wish there had been clearer guidance available.

Considerations and Strategies

It’s important to take a balanced approach when deciding on the order of colleges on the CSS Profile. Here are a few key considerations and strategies to keep in mind:

  • Be Honest: List the colleges in the order that genuinely reflects your preferences and priorities. Your enthusiasm for an institution can shine through in other parts of your application, and honesty is always a good policy.
  • Financial Aid Impact: Consider the potential impact of the order on financial aid offers. Some experts suggest listing the colleges in alphabetical order to avoid inadvertently signaling a preference.
  • Communication: If a particular college is your top choice, consider reaching out to their financial aid office directly to express your strong interest. This can help ensure they understand your enthusiasm for their institution, regardless of the CSS Profile order.


In the end, the question of whether the order of colleges matters on the CSS Profile is a complex one. As someone who has navigated this process, I understand the desire to do everything possible to secure the best outcome. However, it’s important to approach this decision with a balanced mindset. While the order may have some impact, it’s just one piece of the overall financial aid puzzle. Ultimately, the most important thing is finding the right college fit for you, both academically and financially.