Over the years, the number of colleges our clients apply to each season has more than doubled. When I started consulting in 2008, students submitted five to ten college applications. Today, I see students applying to 15-20 colleges, and even more, in some cases. The caliber of applicants might be similar to what colleges and universities have reviewed in the past, but the selectivity ratio changes when universities receive more applications, creating a chicken-and-egg situation.
I believe there are several reasons for the increase in applications.
First, standardized applications make the process of applying much easier. The Common Application, which is accepted by more than 800 colleges and universities, enables students to apply to up to 20 schools.
Second, the Coalition Application, introduced in 2015, has no application fee, and students are not limited as to how many of the more than 150 schools in the coalition they want to apply to.
Streamlined Application Systems
Third, many states – such as California and Texas – have adopted streamlined application systems that enable students to apply to all public colleges and universities using one application. Examples of these systems are Cal State Apply, Apply University of California, and Apply Texas. As a result of these factors, students are applying to more colleges than ever before and are thereby creating scarcity at the top of the food chain for the most selective schools. The increase in applications has led to a decrease in acceptance rates at many colleges and universities. For example, the acceptance rate at Harvard College has decreased from 11.5% in 2007 to 3.41% in 2023. Thus, students believe they must apply to more schools to gain university admission. However, other schools are still clamoring for students, as noted in a May 11 Forbes article.
So, if you have not yet gained admission, you still have time to begin school this fall. My Accepted colleagues and I can help take some of the stress out of the process by providing insight and guidance to help you get accepted.
By Natalie Grinblatt, the former admissions dean/director at three top business schools. Natalie has reviewed more than 70,000 applications, interviewed more than 2,500 candidates, and trained nearly 700 admissions directors and alumni volunteers to select outstanding candidates for admission. Her clients gain admission to top programs, including those at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Cornell, Columbia, Berkeley, Chicago, Northwestern, and NYU. Natalie holds an MBA from Michigan Ross. Want Natalie to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!