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.
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Chapter 1: College Applications
Learn about key findings regarding undergraduate application volume as well as acceptance and yield rates.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