Colleges are getting less selective, survey finds

Grades in college prep courses are the most important factor when evaluating candidates

Even though more students are applying to college, most institutions are accepting the majority of applicants, according to a survey from the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

The survey found that the number of college applications went up between the fall of 2014 and fall of 2015, by about 6% for first-time freshmen, 4% for transfers, and 23% for international students. However, the average admissions rate for fall enrollment in 2014 was 65.8%, up slightly from 64.7% the year before. (The acceptance rate for international students was only 34%). When looking at all institutions , just 19.7% admit fewer than half of applicants, while 36% admit between 50% and 70%. 

Even though more students are applying to college, most institutions are accepting the majority of applicants, according to a survey from the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The survey found that the number of college applications went up between the fall of 2014 and fall of 2015, by about 6% for first-time freshmen, 4% for transfers, and 23% for international students. However, the average admissions rate for fall enrollment in 2014 was 65.8%, up slightly from 64.7% the year before. (The acceptance rate for international students was only 34%). When looking at all institutions , just 19.7% admit fewer than half of applicants, while 36% admit between 50% and 70%.

The top five factors identified as being of "considerable importance" when evaluating freshmen candidates are:

  • Grades in college preparatory courses (79.2%);
  • All grades (60.3%);
  • Strength of curriculum (60.2%);
  • Admissions tests (55.7%); and
  • Essay or writing sample (22.1%).

Few institutions considered race and ethnicity highly when evaluating students. Just 3.4% said race/ethnicity had a "considerable influence" on decisions, while 11.1% said it had a "moderate" influence. First-generation status had a "considerable influence" among 2.4% of respondents and a "moderate influence" among 13.9% (Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 9/8). 


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