November 28, 2012 (Arlington, VA) – The past decade has been a time of significant uncertainty in the college admission process for both students and admission professionals, according to a report released today by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).
The 10th annual edition of NACAC’s “State of College Admission” explains that U.S. postsecondary institutions are less able to predict enrollment trends today than they were 10 years ago, a development caused by students applying to an increasingly larger number of schools. The report reveals that college admission offices are working harder to meet their goals for filling freshman classes, and school counselors and others who help students in transition are feeling overwhelmed at the volume of work now associated with the process.
Among the significant findings in the 10th Anniversary “State of College Admissions”:
- The number of applications submitted to colleges rose dramatically over the past decade, fueled by a record increase in applications submitted per-student.
- Acceptance rates for four-year institutions declined slightly during the past decade, from a national average of 69.6 percent in 2002 to 63.8 percent in 2011.
- Average yield rates, or the percent of accepted students who enroll, at four-year colleges declined significantly over the past decade, from 49 percent in 2002 to 38 percent in 2011. Declining rates signaled greatly increased uncertainty for colleges, upending traditional methods of predicting the share of accepted students a college would enroll.
- Admissions decisions are placing more emphasis on factors such as students’ grades in all courses and demonstrated interest in attending, while focusing less on class rank, among other factors.
“While the college admissions process has become less predictable in the past decade, one thing is clear – students, parents, admissions officials, and policymakers all need good information on which to base their decisions,” said Joyce Smith, NACAC’s chief executive officer. “Today’s report can help inform that process."