My report includes a summary of major trends in the college admission world for this year.
Major College Admission Trends
Highly Selective Admissions “Arms Race”…Continues
The arms race in highly selective college admission continued this year. Seven of the eight Ivies reported increases in applications and decreases in admissions. At least twenty-two universities reported 30,000+ application totals. Factors contributing to the arms race include growing first generation applicant pools; growing international applicant pools; the popularity/accessibility of the Common Application; “attract to reject” marketing; financial aid anxiety.
Here are a selected handful of admission statistics reported by institutions:
Stanford University 38,828 5.69%
Harvard University 31,785 5.79%
Yale University 31,117 6.72%
Columbia University 33,531 6.89%
Princeton University 26,498 7.29%
University of Chicago 30,369 8.81%
Dartmouth College 22,416 10.05%
Duke University 31,785 11.58%
Vanderbilt University 31,056 11.97%
University of Pennsylvania 31,280 12.10%
Northwestern University 32,772 13.90%
Washington University 30,117 15.01%
USC 47,285 19.68%
· The Times Choice blog provides more exhaustive statistics. Click here to peruse statistics.
“Resource Aware” Schools vs. “Discount Aware” Parents
There is a growing tension between colleges becoming more “resource aware” (aka “full pay hunting”) versus parents becoming more “discount aware” (aka “coupon hunter”).
Popularity of Early Decision = Dissolving Advantage
More students are getting savvy about the “game within the college admission game” and applying into early decision pools; however, schools aren't necessarily admitting more in early decision. As a result, the strategic advantage of applying early is waning. In 2007, for example, a student applying early decision had a 12-15% advantage; last year it was 6%.
ACT Trumps SAT in Popularity
For the first time in US history, the ACT was more popular among high school test takers than the SAT. Notably, this year, 90% of our seniors scored higher on the ACT than the SAT. Colleges will take either the ACT or SAT for admission review (there are also 800+ colleges/universities that are test optional. To peruse this list click here. Moreover, the ACT recently announced that they will be offering their test online (iPads) in the spring of 2015.