As colleges and the Common Application release statistics for this year’s applicant pool, we pay close attention, using this information in conjunction with our own experiences to inform our students and families. In summary, admit rates at the most competitive colleges hit new lows; merit aid at many colleges shifted to students who demonstrate need; and a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion impacted admissions decisions.
The Stats Tell a Story*
- Applications made through the Common App increased 14% over last year.
- Highly selective colleges experienced larger increases in application volume than less selective ones.
- Under-represented minorities and first-generation student applications rose significantly over last year’s applications, up 18% and 22% respectively, as did the % of accepted students in this cohort.
- The majority of applicants (56%) come from zip codes in the top income quintile (20%).
- Public institutions saw stronger growth than private colleges and universities.
- Applicants are applying to more colleges; on average applicants apply to roughly 6 colleges. Our students’ application numbers are creeping up as well; they are now applying to an average of 10 colleges as opposed to 8 just three years ago.
- International applicants increased at three times the rate of domestic students, up 33%.
*Statistics cited by the Common Application
How the Stats Inform our Consulting
- Lists must be well-rounded, with as much or more attention given to target and likely schools than to reach colleges
- Early Decision should be a consideration, but not a mandatory strategy!
- Grades matter and an applicant should also think about deeply developed extracurriculars, and not necessarily a “laundry list” of activities; impact matters