Recent College Admissions Trends

Jun 20th, 2014 | Changes, College Admissions, College Preparation, Newsletter, Undergrad

Graduation season has passed, and it’s time to think about college applications! Recent college admissions trends offer important information to students applying in the next few months…

The Importance of a High School Record.

According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, your child’s high school record is the number-one most important factor in college admissions. Good grades, rigorous course loads, and challenging courses have a stronger influence on admissions decisions than class rank or even standardized test scores. Essentially, colleges want to see that you’ve taken the most challenging classes that your school has to offer, and that you received strong grades in these classes.

College Applications Increase.

Students are sending out more college applications than they used to, and so colleges and universities around the U.S. are getting more and more applications every year. In 2011, 29 percent of the pool of college applicants sent seven or more applications (up from 9 percent in 1990), and the average number of applications per student has increased since then. This increase in the average number of applications per student has resulted in a negative cycle: more applications lead to lower admission rates, which leads to more applications as students try to hedge their bets, and so on.

Acceptance Rates are Dropping.

The lowest recorded admission rate (5.07%, according to research from Ivy Wise) happened this year. The average overall admission rate is probably closer to 50% or more, and several Ivy League colleges are accepting a higher rate of applications for the class of 2018 than they did for last year’s class; however the difference is not great. Many Ivy League schools received a higher number of early decision applications. Since most schools accept a significantly higher percentage of early applicants over regular submission applicants, early decision is to your student’s advantage. Also, now that colleges are receiving so many (and not accepting) applications, it’s critical that students find a way to break through the noise.

Demonstrated Interest is Key.

Most selective schools are becoming even more selective in their admissions decisions. Colleges and universities nationwide are placing stronger emphasis on students’ demonstrated interest in attending their school. They track student visits and interviews, check to see if the student has contacted faculty or alumni, and analyze their supplemental essays to gauge how well the student knows the school (and therefore, the likelihood of enrolling). College admissions officers want to see that your student has done his or her homework on the school. They will almost always look at your child’s social media profiles, too, so remind your student to be careful!

Contact us to learn about test preparation, tutoring, and admissions counseling services to help your student through the college application process.

Featured photo from here, labeled for reuse.