College Admissions Trends 2013-14

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What to Expect if You’re Applying to College This Fall

College admissions season is in full swing, and with an increasingly competitive landscape, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with what’s new and what’s changing from year to year.

From the Fisher v. UT-Austin case to the revamped Common App, there’s a lot that has happened since last admissions season that has had an influence on the 2013-14 college application process.

Here are the top college admissions trends for 2013 that students and families should be aware of:

Greater Emphasis on IQ

No, we’re not talking about the intelligence test. In NACAC’s State of College Admissions report last year, the organization found that US colleges and universities were less able to predict enrollment trends than they were 10 years ago. With yield rates steadily decreasing as a result of more students applying to more schools, expect more emphasis to be put on interest quotient (IQ), or demonstrated interest.

In order to better predict enrollment and yield, schools have started to focus more on IQ by tracking visits, interviews, and examining how well students know the institution through their supplemental essays, thus gauging their likelihood of enrolling of admitted. In that same report, NACAC found that 21% of colleges rated demonstrated interest as “considerable important,” up from 7% in 2003. Expect this trend to continue this admissions season.

New Common Application

We’ve highlighted before the changes that The Common Application has made leading up to launch of CA4 at the beginning of the month. From new essay topics, higher word-limit, new member schools, and a completely redesigned platform, the new Common App is one of the most visible changes that families will encounter this admissions season.

More Creative Supplements

With the launch of the new Common Application comes the college specific supplements. In an effort to learn more about applicants and encourage students to think critically and outside the box, schools are coming out with more quirky and creative supplements. Some were recently featured on the TODAY Show.

Less Emphasis on Class Rank

The applicant pool is expected to, yet again, fiercely competitive this year at some of the country’s most selective institutions, but one thing that is not expected to be a major “tipping factor” is class rank.NACAC reported last year that colleges and universities are putting less emphasis on class rank, and that trend is expected to continue this year. Because the process of determining class rank varies from high school to high school, and no two schools are the same, expect colleges and universities to look more closely at an applicant’s grades, courses, and their high school’s overall profile and student body.

Social Media is More Important

Increasingly, social media has become a major factor in college admissions, and this year is no different.Now with the launch of LinkedIn’s University Pages, and the availability of the platform to teens 14 and older (Previously users had to be 18 or older to created a LinkedIn profile), students have more access to information that can help them make an informed decision about where to apply to college, but they also have to be more aware of what they do online.

With 26% of admissions officers looking up students on Facebook, and 27% googling prospective applicants, it’s more important than ever for students to be wary of what they post online. Especially since 35% of admissions officers reported that they found something that negatively impacted their view of an applicant when looking him or her up online.

For Now, Affirmative Action in Admissions Stands

Perhaps one of the biggest news items in college admissions this year is one aspect that will not be changing. The much-anticipated ruling in Fisher v UT-Austin came this summer, but everything is staying the same. The Supreme Court returned the case to the lower courts for reevaluation, so, for now, affirmative action in college admissions remains.

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