Each year, US colleges and universities receive hundreds of thousands of applications from first-time domestic students, transfer students, and students from abroad. Key findings regarding application volume, acceptance, and yield rates include:
Growth in Application Volume Continues: Between the Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 admission cycles, the number of applications from first-time freshmen increased 7 percent; applications from prospective transfer students increased by 1 percent; and international student applications increased by 13 percent, on average.
Colleges Accept Nearly Two-Thirds of First-Time Freshmen Applicants; on Average; National Average Acceptance Rate Rebounds: The average selectivity rate—percentage of applicants who are offered admission—at four-year colleges and universities in the United States was 66.1 percent for Fall 2015. The national average acceptance rate has edged up from 64.7 percent in Fall 2013, after reaching a low of 63.9 percent in Fall 2012.
Decline in Average Yield Rate for First-Time Freshmen: The average yield rate for Fall 2015 (35.1 percent) decreased slightly from 36.2 percent in Fall 2014.
Transfer Acceptance Rate Slightly Lower than Freshmen Rate; Yield Much Higher: Among institutions that enroll transfer students, average selectivity for Fall 2016 was 62 percent, compared to 66 percent for first-time freshmen. However, almost two-thirds (65 percent) of transfer applicants who were admitted ultimately enrolled, compared to only 28 percent of freshman admits.
International Student Acceptance Rate is Low; Yield Slightly Higher than First-Time Freshmen: At institutions that enroll first-time international students, the admit rate for this population (55 percent) is lower than both transfer and first-time freshmen. The average yield rate for international students is 32 percent.
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Chapter 2: Recruitment and Yield Strategies
Learn about the common strategies admission offices use to recruit prospective students.Read More
Chapter 3: Factors in the Admission Decision
Learn about the most important factors admission officers consider in evaluating applications.Read More
Chapter 4: College Counseling in Secondary Schools
Access to college information and counseling in school is a significant benefit to students in the college application process.Read More