From Access to Opportunity: CBOs Redefine the Student Admissions Journey with Match

Written by Bridget Bowers

The complexity of university admissions and concerns around the application process increasingly plague students and counselors. We find ourselves in the midst of one of the most chaotic college admissions processes in years. In a study published by NACAC, most students expressed that the college admissions process has been more stressful than anything else they have faced in their academic career, with nearly two-thirds of the students expressing that they have felt like nothing more than a number in the process. Changes in expectations, delays in financial aid information, unpredictable deadlines, legislation outcomes, and fear of rejection seem to be the only constants for students who are looking to apply to college. 

 While supporting students in creating their college list, counselors and student advocates are inundated with factors that lead to more questions and potentially rushed decisions. Underrepresented students face additional barriers and are acutely impacted by the changing admission options and requirements. The same NACAC study found that more than 7 in 10 young adults believe there’s significant bias involved in admission decisions and that the process is advantageous for privileged groups. 

This changing and confusing landscape detracts from the excitement and hope that should exist for counselors and students. Counselors are spending time on recommendation letters, parent communication, and supporting student essays. Too often, conversations that should be based on the programs, degree opportunities, and campus living options are instead focused on deadlines, fees, and stress management. This environment has created a general feeling of being overwhelmed rather than one of excitedly exploring possibilities. 

Match, a More Equitable University Admissions Process

Match, powered by Concourse, is a zero-cost revolutionary platform that aims to address the difficulties of the current admissions landscape of student stressors when evaluating and applying to colleges. This innovative platform is based on this question: “What would it look like if colleges applied to students?” 

With Match, students can receive admission and scholarship offers monthly. This allows students to get offers when they need them. The best part? Students never have to complete an application or pay application fees! Match is designed to show students new options that they may not have otherwise considered and to create new opportunities in a time frame that benefits them. Match’s mission is simple: increase access to higher education by prioritizing students in the university admissions process, thereby limiting stress and increasing equity. 

Match’s Reverse Admissions Process Explained

Reverse admissions is a process where universities apply to students, flipping the traditional college admissions model and putting students first. Rather than completing an application, students are matched anonymously with universities that might be a great fit based on their preferences. Students also hear only from colleges that are offering them admission, allowing the Match platform to be a place of “yes” in a space that is historically filled with rejection. Students are in the driver’s seat after the offers are extended as they are prompted to respond to their offers and connect with the university in a nonbinding way as an admitted student. Students can show interest in multiple offers, and at that point, the student’s data is released directly to the university to continue the conversation. 

How Students and CBOs Are Participating in Match

High school seniors are eligible to participate in Match. The Match team works directly with community-based organization (CBO) counselors to provide support and facilitate the onboarding of students to the platform. 

The process is meant to be simple, low-lift, and straightforward. Students spend 30 minutes creating one single profile that includes their transcript, college preferences, and dream job. No supplementary documents are required to participate (e.g., letters of recommendation, personal statements, etc.). Match is based on approachability for all students, whether they identify as first-generation to college, have concerns around citizenship status, or are looking for universities that provide campus programs to meet their needs. 

Once a student’s profiles are completed, they can be reviewed by their counselor prior to being published for review by universities. In as little as a few weeks, students can receive personalized, real admission offers that may include scholarships and details about specific program opportunities. Student profiles are anonymized during the university review process, and their data is protected throughout! 

Benefits of Match for CBO Counselors 
  1. Visibility: As a counselor, you have access into each student’s offers and acceptances, eliminating the need to track students down for the latest updates. 
  2. Data Tracking: Match provides CBOs with a comprehensive view of the program’s impact throughout the year, including offer and scholarship information. 
  3. Community Building: Match currently partners with 190+ universities globally. Students and counselors have direct access to talk to admissions representatives in the platform to receive immediate support and develop relationships. 
  4. Student Confidence: The timely offers and lack of rejection on Match increase student morale and confidence in the process, maximizing their engagement with their counselor and promoting a college-going culture. 
The Transformative Impact for CBOs Utilizing Match 

Since 2021, Match has delivered 100,000+ offers of university admission and nearly $6 billion in scholarship offers, all without students completing any applications. Since 2021, the Match team has supported 100+ CBOs nationwide, providing counselors with a unique way to expand opportunities for the students they serve. 

College Possible Chicago is one such organization. Last year, their 169 participating seniors received 1,648 admission offers from 50 different universities. With an average of 10 offers and $108 million in scholarships per student, Match provided opportunities that could have been lost in the traditional application approach. The program reduces student anxiety and creates a culture of empowerment through a streamlined and timely process. 

Ready to have your students on Match? 

Match allows students to broaden their university options with real offers of admission and scholarships, all without the cumbersome application process. 

Interested in connecting with the Match team to learn more about this free program? Reach out to Bridget Bowers to discuss how Match might work with your specific organization or scan the QR code to receive more information.

College Possible Match Results


"Many of our students have not been exposed to the various college options that are available to them as well as the opportunities for financial support at these institutions... Match provided this opportunity to our students by bringing colleges to them." - Jason Carter (Director of College Access, College Possible)

*EAB, Appily’s parent company, partners with more than 2,600 institutions serving students from kindergarten through college to provide comprehensive thought leadership in areas such as access and equity, enrollment, and student success.


Author Bio

Bridget Bowers is a dedicated advocate for higher education access and opportunity. After earning her Bachelor's degree in English and Psychology from Loyola University Chicago, Bridget pursued advanced studies, obtaining a Master's degree from Washington University in Saint Louis.

Her journey in education began in the high school classroom, where she spent five years as a teacher and activities director. Bridget's commitment to expanding access to higher education led her to transition into EAB in 2021.

Currently, Bridget serves on the Match team, where she works to support counselors and organizations in maximizing their utilization of the Match platform. Her role involves supporting counselors and providing resources for the systemic barriers that many students face in pursuing higher education. She is driven by a passion for ensuring that all students, regardless of background or circumstance, have the opportunity to fulfill their academic potential and achieve their dreams.