March surely goes in like a lion when it comes to college admissions. The last round of decisions are about to be released and it feels like the force of quite a big roar.
Students are wondering what to expect over the coming weeks, especially given this new world of hyper-competitiveness. The 2022 process is filled with uncertainty, yet we can make some assumptions and predictions about what is to come:
1. Expect colleges to waitlist a lot of students.
This trend grows every year. Colleges create a waitlist in case their yield rate takes a hit and they don't receive as many enrollment deposits as expected. But it's getting a bit out of control. The University of Michigan had 21,723 students on its waitlist last year. That number could fill the incoming freshman class three times over. Remember that if you want any shot of being admitted from the waitlist, you must accept your spot.
2. With on-campus housing crunches at some colleges and record-breaking admissions cycles at others, I anticipate that the name-brand colleges will not be using their waitlists very much.
Last year we saw very few students admitted from the waitlist at the more popular colleges and universities. We have to anticipate this occurring again this year.
3. Colleges will welcome admitted students back to campus for the first time in two years, in some cases.
Make sure to register as early as possible for these programs as they are going to fill up quickly with families who are anxious to see the campus for the first time or once again. With more restrictive visitor policies in place, you want to sign up for these programs as soon as you know what day you are planning a visit.
4. More students will hear that they have been admitted for the summer session or spring semester.
As colleges scramble to increase revenue after two years of pandemic-induced losses, they will want to fill their dorms at times when campus is not as populated. For the large public universities, admitting students for the summer session gives them a huge windfall. Florida State University issued an announcement to applicants a few months ago notifying them of a huge increase in applications and encouraging them to switch their application from fall enrollment to summer. And the private colleges and universities often admit a cohort of freshmen to arrive for the spring semester when so many of their upperclassmen are traveling abroad and leaving dorms vacant. Arriving in the summer or spring is not a bad option, though, especially if it is the student's dream school.
5. While we hear of record-breaking application totals among the name-brand institutions, not all colleges are experiencing this.
Some are seeing smaller applicant pools and yield rates that are taking a nosedive. These colleges are going to be more receptive to requests for more merit aid. If a student has received a better merit scholarship from another college, they can use that as leverage at the college where they are hoping to enroll. Keep in mind that this strategy will only work well at the colleges that aren't in the news for record-breaking application totals.
High school seniors can feel like they are on the receiving end of a ferocious lion at times. But as March comes to a close, students can see opportunity, a welcoming environment at an unlikely college, and a gentle sign of hope from the seasons changing. I encourage students to embrace the college or colleges where they have been admitted. Sometimes the unlikely choice yields surprising results.