Massive Increase in 2008 Applications

Colleges across the nation are seeing a surge in applications for 2008 admissions.  A number of factors are cited as a possible cause, the most likely of which include increasing amounts of college-aged students, recruiting tactics, the ease of online applications, and the increasing amount of schools to which a single student applies.

The most selective schools are seeing the greatest increase, with colleges like Harvard receiving 27,278 applicants for approximately 1,700 spaces -- a 19% increase from last year.  Ultimately, this means one thing: colleges will have to be more selective and deny more applicants than ever before.  And with 3.2 million high school seniors graduating in 2009, the largest amount in our nation's history, the problem seems poised to get worse instead of better.

The actual impact this will have on the selection process is not completely clear.  A big cause for the increase in applications is that students are simply applying to more schools.  While 4 may have been the average several years ago, students now are applying to as many as a dozen schools.  This could be the major cause of a misleading numbers increase.

Fortunately for students, this news is more of a problem for the admissions committee than for the applicants themselves.  Colleges now must be more careful in determining not only the amount of students they will accept (remember, schools anticipate that some percentage of students will decide not to attend), but also the amount of students they will waitlist.

So take comfort, applicants, because admissions will not necessarily become harder. The process will certainly become more stressful for admissions officers, and this stress will undoubtedly be passed onto applicants in the form of bigger waitlists and longer delays, but ultimately there should be little effect on your chances of admission.  Remember that while the number of applicants is skyrocketing, the average GPA and SAT/ACT scores of the admitted classes are staying somewhat consistent.

Source: NYTimes

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