Latest Trends in College Admissions: 15 Things You Should Know

Last Updated Oct 21, 2011 12:19 AM EDT

Want to know the latest trends in college admissions? No need to wait any longer.
Every year the National Association for College Admission Counseling polls its membership - private and public colleges and universities across the country - to determine what's happening in the college admission trenches. The new report, 2011 State of College Admissions, also includes the latest statistics from other sources, including the federal government, related to college-bound students.

Here are 15 things to know about what's happening now in college admissions:

1. The number of high school graduates peaked in 2008 at 3.3 million and will continue to decline through 2014-15, but the number of students enrolled in college is expected to continue to increase until at least 2020.

2. Approximately 20.4 million students are enrolled in college and that number is expected to swell to 23 million by 2020.

3. In every year since 1976, women have completed high school at a greater rate than men. Currently the gap is 1.2 percentage points.

4. Fifty-six percent of enrolled college freshmen are female.

5. During the last admission season, colleges and universities were accepting slightly fewer applicants. The typical school accepted 65.5% of its applicants. Back in 2001, the average acceptance rate was 71%.

6. Seventy-three percent of colleges and universities in 2010 experienced an increase in applications from the previous year.

7. One out of four teenagers submitted seven or more college applications.

8. The average application fee was $40. Larger institutions and more selective colleges tended to impose higher fees.

9. The typical school's admission yield was down. Yield refers to the percentage of applicants that a college accepts who ultimately end up attending the school. The latest yield is 41% versus 49% in 2001. The shrinking yield is not surprising since students are applying to more schools.

10. Colleges typically spent $585 to recruit each applicant during the 2010 admission season.

11. Forty eight percent of schools used a wait list. Wait lists were far more popular with selective schools that accept fewer than 50% of its applicants. More than 63% of those schools used a wait list compared with less than 12% of schools that accept 50 % to 70% of its applicants.

12. The acceptance rate gap between those who apply early decision versus regular decision has shrunk. The acceptance rate for students who applied early decision was 57% versus 50% for regular-decision applicants.

13. While the college admission landscape has become tougher to navigate, getting help from high school counselors remain challenging. NACAC notes in its survey that federal statistics indicates that the average counselor/student ratio is 460:1.

14. The average public high school counselors spend just 23% of their time on college counseling, while the average private school counselors devote about 55% of their time to college issues.

15. Only 26% of public schools have at least one counselor who works exclusively on college counseling issues. In comparison, 73% of private schools have a dedicated college counselor.

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Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and Shrinking the Cost of College workbook. She also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.
College admission image by Mike Willis. CC 2.0.

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