Match: A Reverse-Admissions Platform for Every Student

Written by Yolanda Coleman

When she was trying to reason with students who were set on applying only to the most selective universities, my mentor and former
college counseling colleague would pose a simple question: Would you take an umbrella if the forecast predicted a 95% chance of rain?  

When they inevitably said yes, she would explain that applying solely to schools that admit 5% of their applicant pools is usually a recipe to get wet. Sure, there’s a chance it won’t rain, but it’s still best to have an umbrella.

The college process can be uncertain, burdensome, and overwhelming. I thought every student could use a metaphorical umbrella to navigate it, so I started searching for one. Eventually, I found it.

Match, powered by Concourse, allows colleges to apply to students. Yes, you read that correctly – colleges apply to students. This is known as reverse admissions. In just 30 minutes, students can create straightforward profiles and begin receiving real admission and scholarship offers as early as August of their senior year.

Unlike direct admissions, Match students don’t have to submit applications, fee waivers, test scores, essays, or recommendation letters. Their personal data is also protected. And did I mention that Match is free for students, counselors, and high schools?*

At this point, you’re probably thinking the same thing I did when I first came across Match – it’s either too good to be true, or there must be some catch. It’s not, and there isn’t.

Below are descriptions of 7 students, representing student personas you may encounter often, for whom Match serves as the perfect umbrella.

a young woman worrying

The Nervous Student

Regardless of their background or the space they occupy on the academic or extracurricular spectrum, many students believe they’re not “good enough” for their desired colleges. NACAC and EAB’s 2023 Counselor Perspective survey found that anxiety/mental health concerns were among students’ most frequently voiced challenges during the college admissions process.

The fear that they won’t be admitted can be paralyzing and, in some cases, prevent them from even applying. In partnership with Joon, an adolescent mental health provider, Appily surveyed 6,330 high school students about the impact of mental health on their college decision-making process.

The report found that nearly 60% of high schoolers feel anxious most days, and 28% “reported that mental health concerns are a reason they may choose not to attend college.”

This is why I homed in on Match’s “no rejection” philosophy. On the platform, students are notified only when colleges say “yes,” so they never receive a rejection letter. When I read this, I was flooded with memories of the countless times I’d consoled students who were certain their dreams were over because their dream school denied them.

Of course, that was never the case, but that can be hard to understand when you’re 17 and heartbroken. With Match, there’s only cause for celebration.

a young man thinking


The Middle 50% and Cost-Conscious Students

I often think of my students, like River, who could never make the honor roll no matter how hard they tried.

Those students often worried me the most, but on Match, 88% of students receive at least one offer.* Odds are, River will, too.

And for my low-income and other cost-conscious students, like Thalia, who relied heavily on need and merit aid to make college affordable, 90% of Match offers include a scholarship.**

Such certainty expands college access by taking a school from unreachable to attainable.


a happy young woman using a laptop

The Busy and Career-Oriented Students

For my busy students, like Asa, who had little time or energy left for college applications between classes, homework, club meetings, band, track, and a part-time job, the Match profile takes only 30 minutes. Asa could complete it during his lunch period.

As one counselor said, “The Match profile is designed for Gen Z.” It’s simple, straightforward, and streamlined, focusing only on the information colleges need in order to decide if they and the student align. 

In the Counselor Perspective survey, counselors listed an inability to afford college and skepticism about whether college is worth the investment as two of the top three reasons why students don’t attend college after high school. Affordability concerns were also prevalent in EAB’s insight paper on Gen Z’s evolving enrollment journey.

For my budding entrepreneurs, brand influencers, and other career-oriented students, like Jacelyn, who kept a discerning eye on the rising cost of college and questioned whether the investment was worth it, Match offers include tailored program recommendations that can put students on the path to economic mobility upon earning a bachelor’s degree. These innovations make the case for ROI much stronger.

a young woman looking unsure



The Imposter Syndrome Student

Feelings of inferiority and unbelonging can lead to undermatching for incredibly capable students from underrepresented backgrounds. One student surveyed in the Appily and Joon Health report shared the following response: “Impostor syndrome (also often referenced as imposter syndrome) is the most stressful thing. I don’t want to ‘be a disappointment’ and go to a school that isn’t held in high regard, but I’m also scared that if I go to an elite school, I won’t be on the same level as everyone else there.”

The Match profile allows students like Zara to present their authentic selves and be accepted by universities that value what they’ll bring to campus. It’s a burden lifted for students who often feel as though they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.

a young man who is stressed



The 11th Hour Student

Then there were my students, like Dane, who, due to an inefficient aid package, a lack of excitement about their acceptances, or a decision to move in a different direction, found themselves frantically searching for additional options as the May 1 enrollment deadline approached. Match provides these students a lifeline by extending admission offers into June, allowing them more time to adjust if their circumstances change. 

Match is for Every Student

As college and guidance counselors, we can’t protect our students from the unpredictability of the admissions process any more than we can protect them from the rain. But we can give them an umbrella.

Download the infographic to learn more about the 7 student personas introduced in this article and explore 7 more. Learn how Match is creating transformative pathways to higher education for every student.

Ready to bring the transformative power of Match to your students? Click here to get started.




*Match is offered at no cost for students attending US high schools. Fee waivers are available for students outside of the United States.

**Stats as of October 2023.