A Glimpse at 2022 College Admission Trends
Top Colleges Are Receiving More Applications
If you’ve ever had a child apply to college, you know the feeling: worry they won’t be accepted where they want to be, or anywhere, dealing with potential intense disappointment, and that feeling so many 17-year-olds seem to take on where college acceptance is all that matters.
To add to this, perhaps you heard last year that colleges are receiving record-breaking numbers of applications. The result: gaining acceptance into these colleges is even more difficult.
Last month, we addressed how to plan for a test-optional school. This month, we want to go through with you why so many applications are coming into these schools, and what you can do about it.
What’s Been Going On
Due to the events of the past two years and its repercussions, colleges throughout the nation are receiving more applicants than previous years. This is particularly true for highly selective schools. Harvard, for instance, smashed their record last season with 57,000 college applications coming in.
Regionally, southern states are seeing a considerable increase compared to other parts of the country. The southeast, for instance, received 15.5 percent more applications in 2021 than the year before.
The Reason There Are So Many Applicants
There is one phrase that explains this huge uptick in applications: test-optional.
The vast majority of 4-year colleges have declared themselves test-optional, test-flexible, or test-blind…and that number is only increasing. Making reporting standardized tests scores a choice was a result of the pandemic and how hard it became in 2020 to test safely. However, this is coupled with a push to view the student more holistically, prompting test-optional to become a more long-term choice.
Now, high school students are gaining confidence when applying to colleges. They know the colleges do not need to see an SAT or ACT score, and believe that improves their chances of gaining admission. Over the recent years these test-optional policies have been in effect in so many schools, students opting to report their scores have dropped significantly.
What You Should Do
To a parent, these statistics may seem pretty stressful. However, there are steps to take to make the college application process a positive experience.
The explosion of applications is primarily focused on the most highly selective schools, so your teen should be sure to add more “safe schools” and “target schools” to their list. Of course, continue to apply to reach schools, but focusing on the other schools will give you and your teen some assurance during the process.
In addition, in this test-optional world, prioritize other parts of the application. Teacher recommendations and the college essay should now rank even higher on what your teen should be spending time on. An essay that shows off your teen as a whole person can go a long way towards eventual college acceptance.
The college application process was stressful enough before all of these recent changes. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help and start your teen off on the right path.