2020 was not a normal year for anyone anywhere around the world. It was definitely not at all normal for students who were graduating from high school or students who were in the senior year and applying to the US colleges for the admissions. In this article, I will talk about a few key things to know about US college admissions 2022 (during and post-pandemic).
US College Admissions 2022
With SAT and ACT tests not in the picture (or being optional) and many schools moving to Pass/Fail grades for junior year, many parents and students wondered how the admission committee would decide on the college admissions. Definitely, the results have been as unpredictable as the year itself for thousands of students and parents.
Many students have been surprised positive but a lot more have been disappointed. So, what happened, and what it means for the upcoming graduating classes.
Here are the top 5 things to know about the 2022 US college admission cycle and results and why it matters for the rising high school seniors.
1) Top 100 or so colleges saw their application pool increase by 20-50%
With an optional test policy, most of the colleges saw a significant increase in the pool of applications. Students who would not have applied to these colleges because of their lower test scores decided to throw in their applications into the pool if they were in the top 10% of their high school class. Suddenly, colleges got applications from schools and students who would not have applied in a normal year because of their test scores.
Students from rich zip codes or private schools have historically done better in testing than students who are at rural schools or in under-served schools. Now, if colleges have seen this pool of applicants, do they keep test scores optional in the future? Most probably the answer will be “Yes” so they can continue to get more first-generation, underprivileged, and under-served students applying and joining the top colleges.
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2) With a high deferral rates from the previous year, many colleges did not have enough spots to offer to students, especially the ones that did not apply for early decision, early action or early rounds
In the 2019-2020 admission cycle, many freshmen decided to defer their admissions to 2021 due to Covid. Many of the colleges already had 10-20% of the class decided even before any seniors applied. Also, colleges admitted a number of students in their early rounds and the colleges between 10-30 ranking gave a spot to kids who applied as ED.
Many of the students who would have a better profile but did not opt for ED missed out on their chance as they did not know that colleges will get overwhelmed with applications and the admit-rates in the regular cycle will drop significantly compared to ED and EA rounds.
3) More students from the rural and underprivileged high schools applied to the top colleges, improving the diversity profile of the applicants
This year many top schools reported getting a significant increase in number of applications from smaller schools from under represented areas or rural areas.
This increased the diversity of applications, impacting some of the results of private schools and top public schools that had sent a lot of students to the top 50 colleges in prior years. This diversity in the applicant pool is here to stay and will impact the changing profile of admitted students over the years.
4) Some of the majors such as Biology, Computer Sciences saw a large influx of applications and were highly competitive
If you are applying for some of the most competitive majors such as computer science, biology, economics, and electrical engineering, be prepared to spread your college list across the spectrum of schools. Some of these majors tend to get a lot of applications and have limited seats so the chance of admissions tends to be lower than for majors such as liberal arts, history, political sciences, psychology, etc.
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If you are focused on one of the competitive majors, maybe apply to some of the not-so-competitive colleges and you may see some good results. Most of these colleges may offer you as good of an education as any other college.
5) Schools still used grades and any test scores available to make the decision
Irrespective of the holistic admission approach, competitive colleges still use grades, GPA, and test scores as the baseline for selection. They primarily compare you against other students from your school or area when making a decision.
Other factors such as legacy, essays, recommendation letters, extra-curricular only come into play if you meet their minimum academic rigor criteria. So, always good to stay focused on getting good grades and class rank before you think about the extra-curricular and holistic admission process.
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Featured Image Source: Forbes