The State of College Admissions Report

NACAC recently released its comprehensive report on the state of College Admissions.  The report includes findings related to the transition from high school to post secondary education in the United States, gathered primarily through NACAC’s annual Admission Trends Survey and Counseling Trends Survey. The 2015 report also includes information about the recruitment and admission process for transfer and international students.

Highlights from their Executive Summary:

College Applications
The steady increase in the number of colleges to which each student
applies is reflected in college reports of increased application volume.
Growth in Application Volume Continues:
Between the Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 admission cycles, the number of applications from first-time freshmen increased 6 percent; applications from prospective transfer students increased by 4 percent; and international student applications increased
by 23 percent, on average.
Online Applications Are the Norm:
For the Fall 2014 admission cycle, four-year colleges and universities received an average of 94 percent of applications online, up from 68 percent in Fall 2007 and only 49 percent in Fall 2005
Colleges Accept Nearly Two-Thirds of First-Time Freshmen Applicants; Slight Decline in National Average Acceptance Rate Stabilizes:
The average selectivity rate—percentage of applicants who are offered admission—at four-year colleges and universities in the United States was 65.8 percent for Fall 2014. The national average acceptance rate has edged up from 64.7 percent in Fall 2013,
after reaching a low of 63.9 percent in Fall 2012.
Decline in Average Yield Rate for First-Time Freshmen Stabilizes:
The average yield rate for Fall 2014 (36.2 percent) increased slightly after a long and steady decline from 48.7
percent in 2002 to 35.7 percent in Fall 2013.
Transfer Acceptance Rate Slightly Lower than Freshmen Rate; Yield Much Higher:
Among institutions that enroll transfer students, average selectivity for Fall 2015 was 61 percent, compared to 65 percent
for first-time freshmen. However, more than half (55 percent) of transfer applicants who were admitted ultimately enrolled,
compared to only 29 percent of freshman admits.
International Student Acceptance Rate is Low; Yield on Par with Transfer Students:
At institutions that enroll first-time international students, the Fall 2015 admit rate for this population (34
percent) was much lower than the overall freshman acceptance rate. The average yield rate for international

students was 52 percent.
Early Decision (ED) and Early Action Activity (EA) Increases:
Between Fall 2014 and Fall 2015, colleges reported an average increase of 10 percent in the number of Early Decision applicants
and 11 percent in ED admits. The number of Early Action applications and the number of students accepted through EA
each increased by 7 percent.
Wait List Activity Increases; Likelihood of Wait List Acceptance Is Low:
For the Fall 2015 admission cycle, 39 percent of institutions reported using a wait list. Institutions accepted an average of 32 percent of all students who chose to remain on wait lists. From Fall 2014 to Fall 2015, the number of students offered a place on an admission waitlist increased by 16 percent.
Factors in Admission Decisions
Admission Offices Identify Grades, High School Curriculum, and Test Scores as Top Factors for First-Time

The top factors in the admission decision for the Fall 2015 admission cycle were: grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, overall high school GPA, and admission test scores. Among the next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and class rank.
For Transfer Admission Decisions, College Grades Matter Most:
The only transfer admission decision factors that were rated considerably important by a substantial proportion of colleges
were overall GPA at prior postsecondary institution(s) and average grades in transferable courses.
College Counseling in Secondary Schools
Student-to-Counselor Ratio:
According to US Department of Education data, in 2013-14 each public school counselor (including elementary and
secondary) was responsible for 476 students, on average.
Time Spent Counseling for College:
On average, public school counselors spent 22 percent of their time on postsecondary counseling in 2014, while their private school counterparts spent 55 percent of their time on college counseling.
College Counseling Staff:
In 2014, 30 percent of public schools reported employingat least one counselor (full- or part-time) whose exclusive

responsibility was to provide college counseling, compared to 73 percent of private schools.
Counselor Professional Development:
Thirty-seven percent of high schools reported that counselors responsible for postsecondary counseling were
required to participate in related professional development. However, only 41 percent of schools with this requirement
paid all costs associated with the professional development; 43 percent paid some costs.
If you have time read the entire report, it is a great way to get a feel for the trends that are occurring in Admissions and Recruitment of your students.