Posted by: Gregory Linton | 11/12/2019

NACAC releases report on “2019 State of College Admissions”

A couple of weeks ago, the National Association for College Admission Counseling published “2019 State of College Admission,” which was authored by Melissa Clinedinst. The report summarizes data from two annual surveys: Counseling Trends Survey (2,345 responses from secondary school counselors) and Admission Trends Survey (447 responses from U.S. four-year colleges that NACAC members). The report is divided into four parts: College Applications, Recruitment and Yield Strategies, Factors in Admission Decisions, and Secondary School Counseling. Here are highlights of the 27-page report:

  • The number of applications from first-time freshmen increased 6% from fall 2017 to fall 2018.
  • Transfer applications increased 4.7% at private colleges but declined 1.7% at public colleges.
  • For fall 2017, 36% of first-time freshmen applied to seven or more colleges.
  • For fall 2017, 66.7% of applicants were offered admission at four-year colleges and universities.
  • The average yield rate (percentage of admitted students who ultimately enroll) for fall 2017 was 33.7%. This rate has declined steadily since reaching a high of 48% in fall 2007.
  • For fall 2018, 57% of private colleges had an application fee, which averaged $50.
  • For fall 2018, the primary means of recruiting first-time freshmen were sending email, maintaining institutional websites, and hosting campus visits.
  • At least 50% of colleges also rated the following strategies as considerably important: high school visits, direct mail, outreach to parents, and outreach to high school counselors.
  • The top factors in admission decisions were overall high school GPA (75%), grades in college preparatory classes (73%), strength of curriculum (60%), and admission test scores (50%).
  • Public institutions valued admission test scores more highly than private colleges.
  • The next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, class rank, and extracurricular activities.
  • In the past decade, class rank and interviews have declined in importance.
  • In 2016-17 each public school counselor was responsible for 455 students, on average.
  • In 2018-19, only 29% of public schools employed at least one counselor (full- or part-time) whose exclusive responsibility was to provide college counseling, compared to 48% of private schools.

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