It's March Madness for college basketball AND for college admissions! Most colleges will release the bulk of their admissions decisions this month.
By month's end, all decisions will be in the hands of students.
As freshmen classes begin to take shape, here are some clear trends I'm seeing:
- Most highly selective colleges and universities are seeing application increases from last year. If a college is down in applications, it's only by a small amount, still making it one of the largest applicant pools on record.
- Highly selective colleges aggressively utilized Early Decision and Early Action this year making it harder to get admitted in Regular Decision. Some colleges filled half of their freshmen class through Early Decision. And colleges with Early Action programs are reporting higher than average yield rates on Early Action admitted students even though the deposit deadline isn't until May 1st. All of this activity lowers the admit rate in Regular Decision even further.
- Engineering programs are seeing robust applicant pools, oftentimes making it one of the most competitive programs that a college offers.
- More private colleges are offering a number of students acceptance for spring semester. These programs allow a student to study abroad or possibly take college courses at another institution before matriculating spring semester of freshman year. Spring semester acceptance programs are typically used for students who don't demonstrate financial need.
- More attention placed on "demonstrated interest" than ever before. Colleges are making distinctions between students who have shown interest in them in some capacity (including how detailed their supplement is) from those who applied with no added interest shown. Even public flagship universities are using demonstrated interests to vet students.
- The vast majority of colleges are making decisions available first online. Only a small handful of colleges still mail all of their decisions.
- Students who get waitlisted need to stay in touch with the college if they are interested in getting admitted. Demonstrated interest is hugely important when it comes to waitlisted students. Students can now express interest on staying on the waitlist, updating the college, and sending additional materials through the college's online portal.
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