Update for February 2021

News

Increase in Applications for Some; Declines for Others:  As colleges release early admission decisions, it becomes apparent that the surge in applications reported by high profile colleges was not an across the board phenomenon. Not only did many smaller and regional colleges experience a drop in applications, but also applications from first generation and low-income students dropped. The Full Story on Admissions from Inside Higher Ed discusses these patterns.

Fall 2022 Test Optional Policies:  Fair Test keeps a running list of colleges with test optional admissions policies and announced that more than half of US four year colleges would be test optional for Fall 2022 admissions. Be aware of the specific details at colleges you’re interested in. Test Optional doesn’t mean Test Blind, and some colleges are using Test Flexible, but still really prefer to see scores.

A New Prompt for Common App Essays:  The Common Application announced their personal statement essay prompts for the 2021-22 application. Most of the prompts remain the same, but one new prompt on gratitude has replaced another seldom chosen prompt. However, I still advise students to start the writing process by considering what they want the admissions office to know about them rather than fixating on a specific prompt.

Featured Long Article

‘Act Now!’ Say Hello to the New Enrollment Playbook (The Chronicle of Higher Education) Seniors may have noticed that as admissions decisions have been announced, emails from colleges have shifted to frequent entreaties to make deposits and complete enrollment. Sometimes these requests are sweetened with benefits for early commitment, like first choice dorm rooms, small scholarships, or parking passes. These policies put pressure on students to commit to colleges before they have received all of their admissions decisions and without comparing financial aid offers.

In the past, many colleges agreed to an admissions cycle in which no application deadline was earlier than October 15, Early Decision applications were binding but did not have extra perks, and students applying under Early Action, Regular Decision, and Rolling Admission options had until May 1 to make their enrollment decisions. Changes to the agreed upon ethical standards has created a situation in which a number of schools are exploring ways to get students to commit earlier or switch their enrollment choice after May 1. This article goes into detail on the how and why of these efforts.

Meanwhile, Back at the Office

February was a busy month at Admissions Decrypted. I had several opportunities to discuss college admissions, including a Service to School workshop on Writing College Essays, a presentation on service academy applications to a group of IEC colleagues, and a fun talk about the myths of college admissions to a group of local area service academy alumni. I have a few more presentations currently in the works, including my first ever appearance on a podcast.  

Meanwhile, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the sophomores of Class of 2023. We have been doing interest surveys and career explorations. They bring a lot of enthusiasm to the process, and it’s cool to watch them weighing options and considering who they are and what they want to become. I still have room in both the Class of 2022 and Class of 2023 cohorts. If you know someone who would like help in the college admissions process, I’d be delighted if you referred them to me.

%d bloggers like this: