2018: More Applications Means Higher Selectivity

Colleges and universities throughout the U.S. have received all regular decision applications submitted for the Class of 2022.New records have been set for the volume of applications in the regular decision round at a number of top-tier institutions.

One may wonder why the volume of applications increases significantly each year despite the relative stability of the number of slots available for freshmen at elite schools. Below are a few reasons that may account for this incongruity:

  • The yearly rise in the population of high school seniors,
  • The increasing importance of higher education in launching and sustaining desirable careers,
  • More international recruiting by U.S. institutions,
  • Recent completion of new, plush visitor centers on many campuses,
  • More recruiting of historically underrepresented groups such as low-income students, minorities, and first-generation college students, and,
  • Improvements in marketing communication methods by college recruitment programs.

These factors have affected application volume at most elite schools. Some results regarding this year’s crop of applicants are noted below:

  • NYU reported that it has received 75,307 applications to the class of 2022, which the school asserts is the most application sever received by any private university in the U.S.
  • UC Berkeley received over 89,000 applications to the Class of 2022.Although the majority of applicants are Californians, out of state students comprise 25% and international students represent 19% of the total.
  • Dartmouth received 22,005 applications. This is 9.8% increase over 2017 and the fourth largest applicant pool in the school’s history. According to Dartmouth, increased recruitment of international, first-generation, and low-income applicants supplemented by new marketing programs are among the factors fueling the growth.
  • Bowdoin reported that applications rose an astounding 25% this year compared to 2017, with 9,047 students applying for admission to the Class of 2022.
  • Northwestern saw freshmen applications grow 8.5% this year, with a record 40,418 students applying for admission. The school’s volume has increased by 25% in the last three years.Admissions officials cite the opening of their new visitor center and their success in recruiting low-income students as factors in the application surge.

Additional 2018 application volumes reported by elite institutions, including four Ivy League schools, are listed below in Table A:

Table A: Selected Application Volumes for the Class of 2022

School Applications
Brown University 35,368
Duke University 37,302
Harvard University 42,742
Middlebury College 9,230
Princeton University 35,386
Tufts University 21,501
University of Virginia 37,188
Yale University 35,305

Most colleges and universities plan to have their regular admission decisions ready for release on March 31 or April 1. However, many choose to release decisions as soon as they’re ready, which, in the past, has often been a week or two before the scheduled release date. This year, due to the avalanche of applications at many elite schools, the release dates of some schools may be postponed until mid-April. Release dates aren’t inflexible and are subject to change.

IvySelect provides invaluable assistance to students in preparing their applications to elite institutions because we know what it takes to be successful at each targeted school, such as:

  • Applicants that a school selects will have superior grades in a rigorous curriculum and exceptional test scores.
  • Students will show an academic passion or a singular set of experiences that provide an intriguing personal perspective. This information is clearly communicated in the 650-word personal essay.
  • Successful applicants also submit excellent supplemental essays, which are intended primarily to elicit reasons why the student is a great fit for the school.
  • Applicants will emphasize any “hook that has been identified.

In addition to assuring that the key factors above are satisfied, IvySelect, as an experienced college admissions consulting firm, assists students strategically in their profile, as well as developing and providing evidence of having had a meaningful impact on the welfare of their school and/or community. Successful applicants will also, under the guidance of their IvySelect personal college admissions consultant, be coached on how to perform well in interviews and to be sure that they submit letters of recommendation that draw the attention of admissions officers.

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