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Isn't College Admission supposed to be Getting Less Competitive?

CTDadof2CTDadof2 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
I noticed some parents commenting in other threads that 2017 was a brutal admissions year. Is this really true? We're there any recent years that were less competitive?. In the northeast we've heard steady news that the number of 18 year olds graduating from high school has been dropping since approximately 2008-2010, but there don't seem to be any news stories about college admission getting any less selective anywhere. Even if you take into account the fact that each student may be applying to more places, you would think the colleges would have to compensate for this on their end by admitting more applicants. Would appreciate any thoughts.
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Replies to: Isn't College Admission supposed to be Getting Less Competitive?

  • CIEE83CIEE83 Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    I have wondered for years how much of the applicant pool for brand name schools is international. I have the impression that the number of international applicants has been growing steadily. This probably accounts for at least some of the growth in the applicant pool. Most schools limit the number of slots set aside for international students, but they don't give statistics on how many of their applicants are foreign. If large (and increasing) numbers of international students are vying for a small number of seats, this could have the effect of making the admit rate look lower than it really is for US applicants (and higher than really it is for foreign applicants).
  • prof2dadprof2dad Registered User Posts: 694 Member
    This is from 2014 Brown Daily Herald:

    "International students made up only 8 percent of applicants to the class of 1988, according to the data. By 1999, these students constituted 13 percent of the pool.

    This year saw the highest-ever number of international applicants, as students from foreign countries made up 17 percent of the total pool, The Herald previously reported."
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 2,813 Senior Member
    Looks like the raw # of high school graduates is expected to drop in 2017-2018:

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/12/06/high-school-graduates-drop-number-and-be-increasingly-diverse
    The decade of stagnation is projected to run from 2013, when enrollment hit 3.47 million, through 2023. During that time, the annual number of high school graduates in the country is expected to slot in between 3.4 million and 3.5 million. However, a substantial drop is expected in 2017. The number of high school graduates is projected to fall by about 81,000, or 2.3 percent, that year.

    But I imagine that for the tippy top schools, this is a relatively small % decline in the number of students.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,898 Senior Member
    IMO, the biggest problem is that students are simply applying to too many colleges. This is due to two factors: The Common App makes it very easy for students to apply to many colleges, and students believe, wrongly, that if they apply to more top schools, their chance of getting into one of them increases. Do a little research and you will probably see that the most selective colleges had more apps than ever and got a little more selective than last year. Meanwhile, there were some excellent schools this year that had empty seats to fill on the NACAC list. HS guidance counselors need to emphasize to their students that there are plenty of great colleges that aren't HYPSM, and try to help them discover the many great colleges out there.

    This is perhaps totally unrelated, but I really wish that CC would get the Supermatch tool back into action. It is a great way for students to discover many excellent colleges that fit their stats and pocketbooks, as well as helping them to narrow down fit. It's probably not likely, but I can't help wonder if perhaps Supermatch not being available this past cycle might have been a part of kids not knowing about a lot of good colleges. No idea how many students actually used Supermatch, but schools with Naviance had access to it.
  • elguapo1elguapo1 Registered User Posts: 268 Junior Member
    In the quest for tuition dollars, it will mean more international admits of increasingly questionable quality. Some metrics you can be assured of in the foreseeable future, tuition rates will continue to rise at a rate greater than inflation, student debt will continue rise and admission to certain schools will stabilize in the 5-7% admit rate. There is no desire to change these metrics either politically or from the colleges themselves.
  • jzducoljzducol Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    With one in five taxi drivers nowadays being college graduates more and more people are realizing that only college degrees from smaller number of schools matter. And therefore more intense competition each year to get into fewer and fewer selective colleges. Here is a Wall Street Journal article that explains such dynamics:
    http://opportunityamericaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/THE-DIMINISHING-RETURNS-OF-A-COLLEGE-DEGREE.pdf
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,999 Senior Member
    @elguapo1: "In the quest for tuition dollars, it will mean more international admits of increasingly questionable quality."

    Only if the quantity and quality of international applicants stays constant. At the high end (at any rate), we've seen both increase dramatically in recent years. With the Ivies/equivalents capping Internationals at 10-15% of the student body, that means that it has been increasingly more difficult for Internationals to get in to those schools.

    Granted, what you say may apply to those schools well outside the Ivy/equivalent tier.
  • wisteria100wisteria100 Registered User Posts: 2,979 Senior Member
    Anecdotally, it seemed like there was less wait list movement at top schools this year, which adds to the perception of it being a tough year. And agree with the other posters who point out, that an influx of International applicants, offsets the decline in U.S. High school seniors.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,999 Senior Member
    And at many schools, it is indeed easier now to get in than before (referencing an article linked to on CC before): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/06/29/many-small-colleges-face-big-enrollment-drops-heres-one-survival-strategy-in-ohio/?utm_term=.fedfbd63f71e

    But many people in the CC crowd, when they discuss admissions difficulty, aren't thinking of the Ohio Wesleyans of the country.

    Even Kenyon, though, saw a big increase in acceptance rate this past year. Other high-end LACs like Grinnell as well.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,898 Senior Member
    edited July 3
    Yes, @PurpleTitan , and it's really puzzling. Kenyon and Grinnell are not suddenly less prestigious or worse at what they do. I think if anything, it just shows how truly unimportant acceptance rates are when compared to more tangible criteria, because they can vary a lot from year to year. I will be interested to see if the acceptance rates this cycle affect their silly USNWR rankings.
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