Dignan wrote:At the end of the day, I think they make their decision based on the overall strength of your application. I suspect that the size of the offer (which they can partially match if they want) is a non-factor.
They imply no strategy helps, which I think seems a little illogical. I have spoken to several TLSers who purposely submitted their smallest offer and recieved matching aid. Almost everyone who submits large offers gets rejected, from the anecdotal evidence I've gathered.To be fair, I submitted my Chicago offer (before it got raised) because I not only was it the most reasonable (Berkeley simply isn't going to match $90k from UVa, especially when COL is cheaper in Charlottesville)
but also because it was my top choice outside of Berkeley. I wrote my essay on the issue.
That's funny, because the only person I know who got a matching aid offer at Boalt last year had his 90K UVa grant partially matched (they offered him $30K). I'm not saying that my anecdote beats your anecdotes, but I think it's clear that there's no single right answer about how best to approach the matching application.
btw, I think your strategy--using an offer from a T6 school and explaining why it is your top alternate choice--is smart. Even if you submitted the Chicago offer after it got raised, I still think it would be the best strategy.