Class of 2021, Fasten Your Seatbelts!

January 1st is the regular decision deadline for many colleges in this country. Numerous schools publish data about the applications that they have received at this time of year. Below is the information that several colleges have shared about their applicant pools. Take a look and see what you think. I will share my thoughts too.

~Duke University has announced that they received just over 49,500 applications, an increase of almost 10,000 from last year.

~Harvard College received 57,000 applications, a 42% increase over the 40,248 students that applied last year.

~Brown University has an increase in applications of 26%. They had 46,469 students apply, 9,675 more than last year.

~Colgate University went from 8,582 applications to 17,392, an increase of over 100%!

~Amherst College received 13,930 applications in the regular decision round, an increase of 31%.

~Stanford announced that they have moved back their release date for regular decision to April 9th, due to a “notable increase in our application numbers”.

~The University of Vermont has increased their applications this year by 40% over last year.

~Tufts University’s application pool increased by 35%, to 31,190.

~The Ivy League decision day is traditionally on or before April 1st. This year, several members have announced that due to an increase in applications, the date to release admission decisions has been pushed back to April 6th.

Where did all of these applications come from and what does it mean for the class of 2021? I think that there are two core pandemic-related factors driving this increase. The first one is that the majority of colleges in this country were forced to become test-optional due to the pandemic limiting the availability of the ACT and the SAT. Students that had superb academic profiles and nationally recognized extracurriculars and athletics, but did not have the scores that match suddenly were able to consider a whole new range of schools that they might not have applied to if test scores were required.

The second factor driving this boom in applications is that these students were not able to visit campuses in the spring, summer and fall, before they had to apply. Many seniors decided to cast a wide net and apply to more schools, see where they get in and then go visit in the spring of their senior year.

So if you are a senior or the parent of a senior, what does all of this mean? My suggestion is that you fasten your seatbelts because I think this spring admission season is going to be absolutely unpredictable.

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