National College Admissions Trends
Competitiveness at Highly Selective Schools
Almost all highly selective schools reported increases in application volume, decreases in admit rates, and increases in wait lists. Many admission offices are reporting that the majority of applicants are a “holistic fit” in terms of academic credentials (GPA, test scores). As a result, as the newest research indicates, elite institutions are admitting more students based on “institutional fit” (underrepresented minority, athlete, legacy, 1st generation, engineering, full pay, development). This year, for example, Duke and Vanderbilt admitted four of our students, all of whom were legacies.
The Advent of Net Price Calculators and Affordability
The US government has mandated that colleges/universities provide a Net Price Calculator for families to pre-determine their “EFC” (“Expected Family Contribution”) and potential financial aid package. As a result, more families are “shopping” for the best deal, forfeiting a “first choice” school, and making fiscally conservative decisions to avoid crushing “self-help” financial aid.
Click here to see article on this trend.
Rising Popularity of Early Decision Programs
More students are “hedging their bets” and applying to schools that offer a binding, early decision program. Many highly selective schools, particularly liberal arts colleges, are filling up almost half their class in their early decision program. Early decision programs allow students to gain a competitive advantage in the “admission game”: the applicant pool is significantly smaller; the admit rate is much higher. In return, schools get what they want, which involves the ability to predict outcomes and control yield.
Click here to see admission stats related to this trend.
Casady College Admission Trends
“Prestige” (“Best College”) vs. “Price Tag” (“Best Deal”)
While we still have a cohort that place a premium on the prestige of an institution, there is a burgeoning groundswell of Casady families that are concerned about the price tag of an institution. More families, in other words, are asking for college lists from our office that are within a more conservative price range. This almost all but eliminates highly selective schools that charge nearly $50-$60K to attend for a year, providing little to no merit-based aid. In addition, more Casady students and families are thinking in terms of longevity in regards to funding both undergraduate and graduate school. “Stretching their dollar”; avoiding “self help” financial aid (loans and work study); “shopping packages”; looking for the “best deal” – this is the new lingua franca among Casady families. This year, for example, more students applied for local, regional, and national scholarships than ever before. Consequently, our students received almost $4,000,000 in scholarships. The money, in other words is definitely talking. Take our three National Merit finalists, for example. All three are matriculating to schools that offered the “best deal” (2 to OU; 1 to Rhodes).
Out-of-State vs. In-State Matriculation
For the past three years, we have seen a shift toward greater parity between students matriculating out-of-state and in-state. This year involves a even split; 50/50. We saw a slight decrease in students choosing OU (2011 – 24; 2012 – 22); however, we saw a significant increase in students choosing OSU (2011 – 4; 2012 – 9). Beyond the four Oklahoma schools (OU, OSU, Tulsa, and OCU), the Class of 2012 will matriculate to 27 different colleges/universities in the United States, and 1 in England (click here to see matriculation and admission list). Factors contributing to this trend include affordability, distance from home, level of comfort, and access to perceivable larger social, academic, athletic, and career resources.
Public vs. Private Schools
Similar to last year, we are seeing a shift toward greater parity in regards to students attending 4-year Public versus 4-year Private institutions. In the Class of 2012, 36 students will matriculate to Public institutions; 35 students will matriculate to Private institutions. The same aforementioned factors are contributing to this trend.
Liberal Arts College vs. University