Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 State of College Admissions

The National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC, has released its annual State of College Admission report. The association culls information from surveys it sends to colleges and universities. This year's report outlines some interesting trends as they relate to enrollment, social media trends in the admissions process, information on high school graduation, acceptance rates, and factors in admissions decision-making.

Here are some highlights:

1. Number of High School Graduates Has Peaked after Decade of Growth
There were 3.33 million high school graduates in 2008-09. In 2010-11, that number will dip to an estimated 3.28 million. The decline will continue, but rebound eventually and remain there through 2017-18.

2. College Enrollment Continues at All-Time High
By 2020 college enrollment is expected to increase to 23 million, up from approximately 20.4 million in 2009.

3. Racial/Ethnic Minorities and Low-Income Students Underrepresented in College
Only 55 percent of high school completers from the lowest income quintile transitioned to college in 2009, while 84 percent from the highest income quartile went on to college.

4. Application Growth Continues
73 percent of colleges experienced an increase in the number of applications received from 2010. For students entering college in 2010, 25 percent of them applied to 7 or more schools.

5. More Colleges Use Wait List; Chances of Acceptance Drop
48 percent of institutions used wait lists for fall 2010 admissions. In 2009, that number was 39 percent. An average on 28 percent of students were accepted off the wait list, a six point drop from fall 2009.

6. Admission Offices Identify Grades, High School Curriculum and Test Scores as Top Factors
In order of importance: grades, curriculum strength, standardized test scores, overall high school GPA, essay, demonstrated interest, class rank, counselor and teacher recommendations, and extracurricular activities.

7. Student-to-Counselor Ratio
US Department of Education data in 2009-10 showed a public school student-to-counselor ratio of 460:1 (that's including K-12 schools). NACAC data indicated an average ratio of 272:1 in secondary schools (including part-time staff). ASCA's ideal ratio is 100:1.

8. Time Spent Counseling for College
Public school counselors reportedly spent an average of 23 percent of their time on college counseling. Private school counselors spent 55 percent of their time on college counseling.

9. College Counseling Staff
26 percent of public schools had at least one counselor (either full- or part-time) on staff dedicated to college counseling, compared to 73 percent of private schools.

10. Cost to Recruit
$585 was the average dollar amount spent by colleges and universities recruiting applications for fall 2010.

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