My March post is overdue and that is because everytime I settle on a topic, another subject or piece of news came up and replaces the idea that I was planning to write about. Finally I decided to write a piece with all sorts of bits and pieces about what is going on in college admissions right now. So here goes:
If you have a senior in high school, then you know that we are in the final stages of colleges releasing their decisions. In the next two weeks, applicants should receive their answers. And deposits are due by May 1st, so in less than six weeks, seniors will know where they are heading in August!
If you are the parent of a high school student and you are wondering how colleges make their decisions, there is a fabulous piece by Rick Clark, who heads up the admissions department at Georgia Tech. The post is titled, “The Two Most Important Letters in College Admissions” and he explains how colleges organize their Institutional Priorities. These priorities then become the driving force in how a school admits their class in any given year.
The Common App reports that applications per applicant are up significantly in the 2023 cycle. The number of distinct applicants has gone from 1,006,531 in 2020 to 1,215,022 in 2023, an increase of 21%. However, the amount of applications submitted by each applicant has increased. Total application volume went from 5,274,166 in 2020 to 6,833,836 in 2023, up 30%. You can read more about the Common App data here.
Columbia University announced that they will be permanently test-optional. Several other ultra-selective schools followed suit. I suspect we will see more schools make similar announcements. The test-optional era creates new questions for applicants. Should I test? And if so, when those scores come, should I send them?
Jeff Selingo is a journalist and author who is an expert on college admissions and a voice of reason on the national level. He wrote a superb piece in the New York Times last week, “The Cynical Reason College Applications Are Surging” He gives a clear explanation of where we are and how we got there. I highly recommend this article.
The other bit of news is that I am starting up again with my monthly webinars! I took a hiatus to develop several pilot programs to work with students on their college planning in a group format. Several parents asked me about them and I promised them that I would return. So the first one will be April 3rd, at 8 pm, which coincides perfectly with the last colleges releasing their decisions. I will share more information about this as the date gets closer.