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Monday, May 21, 2018
Too many college applications
In 2016, the number of freshman that applied to more than seven colleges was 35%, a figure that was just 9% back in 1990. The Common Application, and other technology advances have made it far easier for students to apply to more colleges with the click of a button. With this uptick in applications, college acceptance rates have plummeted, creating a cycle of hysteria in what is now a fiercely competitive college admissions climate.
What if colleges began to place a limit on the number of schools to which a student applied? It would certainly solve a lot of problems. Though colleges charging application fees are reaping the rewards of over-application, they are facing costs of processing those applications the back-end. After all, someone has to read and evaluate those admissions essays. Fewer applications would allow colleges to trim the budget for review staff.
Limiting application numbers could offer a morale boost by increasing acceptance rates. It would offer substantial relief to applicants, who in some instances are drafting dozens of supplemental essays to complement their multiple applications. Psychologically, narrowing the field would help hopeful students to work harder to apply only to good-fit colleges. It would also reduce the number of rejections.
Uniform implementation is the problem. Universities are in competition with one another for business, and federal anti-trust laws largely prevent them from working in unison. Restriction on application numbers would have to occur within private groups like the Common Application, who would need to have the financial incentive to do so.
Motivation would be a key factor for the universities themselves, who benefit from low yield numbers and high application figures. Exclusivity is a well-heeled marketing strategy. In filling seats, colleges also benefit from the ability to pick from a larger pool of talent.
Still, with the admissions bubble swelling to bursting point, limiting applicants could be a practical and financially feasible solution.
Labels: Too many college applications
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