The National Association for College Admission Counseling, in November of 2012, published a press release summarizing recent trends in college admissions. This was the 10th year of the NACAC's State of College Admission, and the current edition can be highlighted by this quote from Joyce Smith, CEO of the NACAC:
"While the college admissions process has become less predictable in the past decade, one thing is clear – students, parents, admissions officials, and policymakers all need good information on which to base their decisions."
The report states that more students are applying to more schools, leading to increased uncertainty in predicting the admissions process. In the previous year, there was a record increase of applications submitted per student, and there is a 10-year trend of rising overall application numbers. In the last decade, national acceptance rates have declined from 69.6% in 2002 to 63.8% in 2011. It appears that students apply to many schools in order to have more options in the event that they are not granted admission to their top choice or dream school.
Another admissions trend is a decreased focus on class rank and other factors. Increasingly, admissions decisions are based on students' grades in all courses as well as their demonstrated interest in attending a particular institution. Strength of curriculum continues to be an important factor in admissions decisions also, along with grades in college preparatory courses and recommendations from teachers and counselors.
The wait list is a trend many high school seniors would rather not experience. However, research shows that nearly half of all universities and colleges employ a wait list in their admissions process, and that percentage rises when considering very selective institutions. Wait-listed students can take some steps to improve their chances of being offered admission, such as writing a short note to their admissions counselor re-stating their desire to attend the institution, or updating the admissions office with any new activities or honors. Be persistent through the May 1st deadline that many institutions have for enrollment deposits.
Early admission is not the guarantee it used to be. In 2009, 70% of early decision applicants were offered admission, but just a year later, that number was down to 57%. Regular admission applicants continue to see about a 50% acceptance rate, and as some students may feel extra pressure to make an early decision, it may be best to wait and apply for regular admission. Early application does offer slightly increased odds of admission and continues to be a great choice for students who feel sure of the institution they wish to attend.
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