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New trends in college admissions

Community Columnist

Many families were caught off guard this year, anticipating the college admission process to be less competitive.

There was an expectation that the number of applicants would decrease as the number of high school seniors has declined.

Predictions of a flat application season were wrong. The number of applications soared as the number of applications per student increased, and more colleges switched to the easy to submit “Common Application.”

Harvard just posted a record number of applications, accepting only 5.9 percent of its applicants. The number of applications at the University of Virginia jumped to 28,272, up from 24,006 in 2010-11.

Out-of-state students submitted nearly 20,000 applications. Only 7,758 were accepted.

Increasing use of wait lists is another trend to watch. Students who mostly likely would have been offered a spot in a college’s entering class a year or two ago, now are often placed on wait lists. In the past years, Duke has placed more students on their wait list than they accepted.

Students are left in limbo and often delay putting down a deposit at a school to which they were accepted in hopes of getting off the list.

Statistically a student’s chances are very low to come off a wait list, as many schools wait list hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of students.

As accepted students turn down offers of admissions some lucky students, particularly “full pays,” are offered spots, but these offers often come late in the summer.

My advice is to make sure students put in a deposit at one of the schools to which they’ve been accepted by May 1, just in case the call never comes.

The final trend is high school juniors applying to college. Students who have completed the coursework required to graduate from high school are opting to apply to college early.

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