by Liz Jackson
One of the best things about our college counseling team at Galin is that we work together as a team to analyze data and trends in higher education. As admission decisions from early applications have come in over the last couple of months, we have made note of the patterns that emerge, and use them to provide the best advice we can to students. Here are three trends from early admissions to keep in mind:
1). Applying early is a good strategy: You may have seen blog posts we have written in the past about how and why applying early decision to college can boost your chances of admission. But there are advantages to applying early action as well, even if it isn’t a binding or restrictive early admission plan. Being notified of at least some of your admission decisions early allows you to have more time to evaluate admission (and potentially scholarship!) offers from your colleges, to visit more schools during the spring semester, and, if you got less-than-terrific news from your early schools, to modify your list of colleges in regular decision and to include more likely colleges. In other words, having more data early is always a good thing!
2). Selective universities are continuing to get more selective, and this is particularly true at selective state flagship universities: Since 2020, the number of applications to colleges have risen, even while the total number of students enrolling in college across the U.S. has fallen. Essentially, selective colleges are getting more selective, and colleges with more open enrollment admission policies are having to work hard to convince students to attend. In this year’s early admission cycle so far, this trend has continued. A pronounced trend is that selective state flagship universities have become much more selective, particularly in programs such as engineering, computer science, and business. For example, University of Virginia, one of the only public universities that offers Early Decision, saw an increase of 1,000 early decision applicants, and its ED acceptance rate dropped to just 24% this fall. At some other state flagship universities, there are expected decreases in enrollment looming, which is likely to result in lower admission rates.
3). Originality matters: As colleges release information about their admitted students and their incoming classes, they often praise the diversity these students represent. Colleges are trying to enroll students from different geographic regions, different socio-economic backgrounds, and with different academic interests and extracurricular experiences. Students who can effectively convey their unique story in their application–perhaps through their essays, or through the record of achievements they have in their communities– continue to be attractive applicants to colleges and universities.
As always, we are excited to get to know you and see if we can help you effectively convey your story to colleges and hope you will reach out about college counseling!