It's that time of year. Everyone around me is partaking in pumpkin picking, Halloween festivities, and watching the World Series. Yet I am hunkered down editing essays and reviewing students' applications before the November 1st deadlines.
A parent sent me a message asking for my predictions of what the 2022-2023 admissions cycle has in store. I wanted to ignore it given everything on my plate. But I'll take a much needed break to tell you what's on the horizon.
1. Large public and private universities with non-restrictive Early Action programs will continue to see increases in applications.
2. Expect a lot of deferrals.
Whether a college has Early Decision or Early Action, they tend to defer a lot of students to Regular Decision.
3. The SEC universities are as hot as a Carolina Reaper.(That's the hottest pepper grown in the U.S., by the way.) The University of South Carolina, University of Georgia, and Auburn University have been hugely popular among students from all over the U.S. in the last few years. Acceptance rates are lower than ever. The University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, University of Tennessee, University of Arkansas, and University of Kentucky are the next group to watch. I anticipate lower acceptances at these institutions as well.
4. Even though most colleges are still test-optional, I anticipate that SAT and ACT average scores for admitted students will continue to increase.Colleges are clearly using this policy to their own advantage, and rewarding students with test scores, especially high test scores.
5. I bet there will be a few colleges with acceptance rates in the 2% range.Right now, Harvard and Yale are close with 3%.
These predictions make me nervous. I bet they make every parent, student, and counselor nervous too. So what can students do right now to improve their chances of admission?
- Consider an Early Decision I or Early Decision II program as long you are objectively competitive for the college. Early Decision acceptance rates are always going to be higher!
- Diversify your college list. Don't just apply to the same colleges that everyone is applying to. There are so many colleges to choose from, plenty of which have stable acceptance rates and test scores.
- Indicate that you are willing to start college early or later. Many large public universities have summer starts. And a lot of private universities and colleges have spring starts. By indicating on your application that you would start at a different time than most college freshman, you will increase your odds of admission!
If you are like me, you want some balance, normalcy, and reason back into this process. The best way to do that is to not follow the crowd when it comes to popularity. I encourage students to not just focus on the big name schools. Look for hidden gems. They are out there and waiting to be discovered by you.