Monday, November 1, 2010

The Application Season, Part 3

At NACAC last month in St. Louis, I attended a seminar on the "creep trend" that's spreading across our high school landscape.

More students are applying earlier and earlier.

This stems from a shared concern among seniors that if they don't apply early there might not be a spot left in the spring.

And there is a shared concern among parents that there might not be any money left in the spring.

Just yesterday, consequently, the Times did an article on this trend. The article's title gives away the overarching thesis: applying early is the new black.

So I thought I would test this thesis a bit.

Based on data I gathered from Naviance, here is a November 1 Application Report for our Class of 2011:

Total Applications: 148
Total Colleges: 64
Early Action Applications: 52
Early Decision Applications: 4
Regular/Rolling Decision Applications: 87
Priority Applications: 2

Right now about 35% of our pending applications are earmarked for "Early". This is really about the same percentage as last year. Our overall volume of early applications, however, is significantly up versus last year. Last year at this time we had about 75 total applications pending versus 148 this year. This year's spike mainly reflects the number of Casady seniors who have applied to state universities.

In lieu of this trend, the glaring irony is the fact that while students are applying earlier and earlier, the vast majority are waiting later and later to decide their final choice.

My guess is that we will see this same trend within our own community. This stems largely from the fact that our students tend to fall in love with many schools. This is one reason why our team has punted the word "first choice". Our students and families value choices - plural.

Our goal then is to help students apply to a range of schools across the spectrum of admission selectivity in order to ensure that they have choices.

Last year almost all of our seniors were admitted to 2 or more colleges.

We hope to continue that trend this year. Stay tuned.