District Administration - June 2012 - (Page 72)
student counsel • christopher Griffin
College Admissions Becomes Unpredictable
When I fIrst started In college admissions counseling, there was a level of predictability in advising students on the colleges they were applying to. You could build a list of reaches, targets and probable admits for a student with a certain grade-point average and exam scores. You could use both local and national data to predict with a high degree of accuracy where a student would and wouldn’t be admitted. Over the past few years, it has become more difficult to advise students on appropriate schools to apply to. Record Increases in Applications One of the significant factors impacting admissions is the ease with which students can now apply to multiple colleges. In the past, students had to complete an individual application, often with unique essay questions, when applying to each college. now, students can complete common forms and submit applications to multiple schools electronically—without ever having been in contact with the college or university. College admissions representatives call these students “stealth applicants.” approximately one-third of the applications filed at public and private universities are from stealth applicants. This is a major shift from years past, when students would be in contact with colleges by phone, campus visit, college fair or high school visit. almost every college is boasting record increases in applications and declining admissions rates. for example, in the district where I work, applications per student have doubled since 2004. Record Number Wait-Listed for colleges and universities, the rising number of applications is both good and
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“Stealth” applicants and college marketers are complicating the process.
bad. This allows colleges to boast of attracting more applicants, enhancing the perception that they have become more desirable and competitive. having more applications does not make the admissions process easier for the colleges, however; in fact, the increase in numbers makes it even more difficult to make decisions on applicants. The “yield,” how many students matriculate over how many are accepted, is what keeps deans of admission up at night. The stealth applicants seriously complicate the process of predicting the yield. Therefore, many colleges are electing to wait-list candidates that they would have accepted otherwise, because they do not expect these students to enroll if admitted. One private college wait-listed over 6,000 applicants this year; another popular university wait-listed the same number of students that are enrolled in the institution. Wait-listing allows the colleges to post a more impressive overall acceptance rate but provides backups in case their yield is not favorable.
for high school seniors, this can be very difficult to manage. at our school, we have gifted, high-achieving students who have been wait-listed at more schools than they have been accepted and denied at—put together. We have a large number of students who continue to wait out the process, hoping to get a last-minute call that they have been admitted. Counselors in other districts report similar concerns. The problem is self-perpetuating. as counselors review the admissions statuses of current seniors, they notice that the decisions have become more unpredictable. When advising their rising juniors, the counselors try to hedge the process by recommending that students apply to “enough” colleges, which inevitably means more applications. Expert Marketers One additional factor that complicates the process is that many colleges now employ sophisticated marketers in their admissions departments. The singular goal for these professionals is to increase the number of applications. This results in mass marketing and the “consumerization” of the student applicant. In this situation, the marketer is coercing the consumer to buy more, which is a reprehensible approach in higher education admissions. Through associations such as the national association of College admissions Counseling, the admissions community must look for ways to address these problems. We can do better. DA
Christopher Griffin is the director of guidance for the Katonah-Lewisboro (N.Y.) School District.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - June 2012
District Administration - June 2012
From the Editor
Geography Ed for a Flat World
Her Own Brand of Education Reform
Finding a Cure for Senioritis
Principals as Instructional Leaders
One Tablet Per Child?
Changing Lives With Assistive Technology
District Administration - June 2012