We recently posted an article on the increase of applications at Harvard; apparently it’s not the only school experiencing an undergraduate application boom. A few more articles were recently published which report on record-breaking application increases at other top colleges in the U.S.
According to a Bloomberg.com article, applications at Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania hit an all-time high this year. There were more than 29,500 Duke applicants for next year (a 10% increase over last year), and 30,800 applicants to Penn (a 14% increase). The main attraction? New financial aid policies.
With sticker prices exceeding the $50,000/year mark, many families rely heavily on financial aid packages to make the possibility of attending a top school a reality. The article states that Duke has a “need-blind” admissions policy and will “meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.”
Eric J. Furda, Penn’s dean of admissions, explains Penn’s application increase: “We believe that one of the primary reasons for this significant increase is Penn’s no-loan financial aid policies, which enable students who qualify for aid to graduate free of debt.”
According to a second article in The Daily Pennsylvanian, Columbia, Princeton, MIT, Brown, Stanford, and Dartmouth have also hit record highs in their undergraduate application volumes. Columbia saw a 32% increase over last year; Princeton experienced a 3.3% increase; MIT’s application volume increased by 7%, as did Stanford’s; and Brown and Dartmouth each saw 2.9% and 15.7% increases, respectively.
With Columbia accepting the Common Application for the first time, this past application cycle “marked the first year in which every Ivy League school accepted the Common Application.” The ease of applying with the Common App helped contribute to the increase of applications at these top schools.
A third article on the application boom discusses the record level undergraduate application increases at UCLA. UCLA received 81,235 applications, 6.4% increase over last year. The total for all UC schools combined was 142,235, a 6.1% increase from last year. UC San Diego experienced the greatest increase at 11.2%. The article elaborates on the specific increases for freshman, transfer students, various ethnicities, California residents, out-of-state applicants, and international applicants. You can view more information by downloading an info sheet from the University of California Office of the President website.
While not touched on so much in these articles, the surge in applications probably also stems from increasing use of the Common Application. That tool simply makes it easier to apply to more schools. Ironically, the Common App, which was intended to reduce stress and ease the college admission process, has led to a situation of heightened stress, more intense competition, and a greater insanity in the admissions process.
The Law of Unintended Consequences runs amok.
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