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Chapter 2: Recruitment and Yield Strategies

College admission offices use a variety of strategies to recruit prospective students, particularly those who would be likely to attend if admitted. Colleges are broadening their recruitment efforts to bring in more transfer and international students.


Beyond the High School Graduate: More than two-thirds of Admission Trends Survey respondents indicated that transfer students are considerably important to meeting overall recruitment goals, and almost 40 percent rated international students as considerably important.

Top Recruitment Strategies: Email and institutional websites are the primary means by which colleges recruit first-time freshmen, transfer students, and international students. Email and websites are also the top two recruitment strategies for first-time freshmen. However, colleges employ a broader range of strategies when recruiting these domestic high school students. Four other factors were each rated as considerably important by more than 50 percent of colleges in 2016—campus visits, high school counselors, high school visits, and direct mail.

Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) Activity Increases: Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2016, colleges reported an average increase of 5 percent in the number of Early Decision applicants and 6 percent in ED admits. The number of Early Action applications increased by 15 percent and the number of students accepted through EA increased by 16 percent.

Wait List Activity Increases; Likelihood of Wait List Acceptance is Low: For the Fall 2016 admission cycle, 39 percent of institutions reported using a wait list. Institutions accepted an average of 23 percent of all students who chose to remain on wait lists. From Fall 2015 to Fall 2016, the number of students offered a place on an admission waitlist increased by 11 percent, on average, and the number admitted increased by 31 percent.

Read Chapter 2 or download the State of College Admission report for more information. 

Explore the 2017 State of College Admission

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NACAC Research

College Counseling for Latino and Underrepresented Students

In order to understand the role of the school counselor in preparing Latino and other underrepresented students for the transition to college, Excelencia in Education and NACAC conducted a national survey and observed counseling practices at six US high schools that were successfully supporting underrepresented populations during the college application process.

Career Paths for Admission Officers: A Survey Report

This report presents the results of a survey of NACAC admission professionals, offering insightful observations on their career experiences and advice to others to advance in the profession.

Use of Predictive Validity Studies to Inform Admission Practices

This report sheds new light on the important role predictive validity research can play in informing admission practices.