The trick to this game is… if you want more financial aid, add more safety schools. Wait! Don’t stop reading. I know it’s annoying, but one of several things could happen.
1) You might actually fall in love with them when you find out how much they are in love with you. You’ve heard of the “girl next-door” The same rule applies when it comes to safety schools.
2) If you’re a somewhat big fish, looking to take a dip in a somewhat small pond, you’ll be surrounded by admirers and the leaves floating on the surface of that pond will likely turn into fat green bills.
3) Even if you don’t plan to attend one of your safety schools, apply anyway. A good strategy that I use to help families secure more free money is to use an offer of money from a lesser school to negotiate a better financial package from the first choice school.