Is your child applying to ten colleges this year? 15? 20 colleges? There is an article in today’s The Los Angeles Times that discusses how high school seniors are applying to more colleges than ever before. It must have been a slow news day with all of the rain in LA as this is by no means a new trend in college admissions. Rather, it’s one that has been growing for years. The article cites how prestigious colleges received an average of 7% more college applications this year. But this sort of uptick, well, it’s the new norm in college admissions.
As Larry Gordon writes in his piece for The Los Angeles Times entitled “Students continue trend of applying to more colleges,” “Students using the increasingly popular Common Application sought admission on average to 4.53 campuses for the coming fall term, up from 4.32 for current college freshmen. That increase may seem small but could be significant at some schools, according to Rob Killion, the Common Application’s executive director. About 525,000 students used the service and 414 colleges participated this year. In a national survey, UCLA researchers found that 17.8 % of current college freshmen had applied to eight or more colleges, up from 15.9% the previous year and 7.8% a decade ago. Some counselors say the Common Application’s ease encourages some frivolous applications, making it harder for colleges to figure out how many offers of enrollment will result in students showing up to fill classes and dorms. Critics also blame the jump in numbers on colleges’ aggressive recruiting tactics, including waived fees and ‘no sweat’ applications with much of the information filled in at some schools.”
Prestigious colleges and universities such as the Ivy League universities are recruiting students who they know don’t have the courses, grades, and standardized test scores to make the cut. So why are these colleges recruiting them? Because the acceptance rates at these schools drop and their US News & World Report rankings rise when they receive more applications (the more students that apply, invariably the lower the admission rate will be). It’s always all about the rankings. Students are led to believe that when Yale University sends them literature Yale wants them to attend. They get excited about attending Yale. They begin thinking about life in New Haven. They then apply and, as is so often the case, they are denied admission. This is — undeniably — a trend in college admissions but, hopefully, by raising awareness of this trend, applicants will be less likely to be surprised when they are denied admission by a college that sent them those glossy brochures.
While you’re here, read more about the surge in applications.
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