Tuesday, May 14, 2013

National 2013 College Admissions Trends

Every year at about this time, I submit my Board of Trustees report on college admissions.

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:

                                                        Apps     Admit%
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%
(St. Louis)           
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”).

·      This WSJarticle illustrates how price and value are losing momentum among consumers. 

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%. 

·      Here is one related article.  And another related article. 

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. 

·      Here is one related article.  And another