July 15, 2022, by

With the 2021-2022 admissions cycle largely behind us, it is time to reflect on the data and look ahead to the coming year. In our next two posts, the Marks Education team will share some key takeaways from this year and will highlight the most important  “to-do’s” for planning your application roadmap and timeline. But first, since all good planning needs good data, here are some facts and figures that will help you understand some important trends.


Application Numbers Continue to Rise

Common Application data shows that the number of applications has increased 21.3% in the past two years; students submitted an average of 5.62 apps. These growing numbers are most noticeable for more selective schools: institutions that admit fewer than 50% of their applicants saw an average increase of 26% in applications over the last two years. Tufts University, for example, saw an increase of 12% over the year before. Many schools have seen even more dramatic numbers: the University of Vermont, for instance, received 57% more applications this year than they did just two years ago.


International Applications Have Shown Huge Increases

International applicants are a major driving force behind these rising application numbers. While domestic student applications through the Common Application rose 12% over the last two years, international student applications rose by 34% in the same period. Oberlin College saw a 38% increase in international applicants this year; according to a Washington Post article by Nick Anderson, Yale’s international applicant pool increased by 99% and Dartmouth’s by 71%. NYU received 15% more international applicants compared to two years ago, UCLA saw an increase of 30%, and Colgate University 41% in the same timeframe.


Universities are Focused on Yield

It has always been difficult to predict yield—meaning the number of admitted students who will end up attending. But as application numbers continue to rise, colleges are having a tougher time making these predictions accurately. This past year, many schools overenrolled—Williams College, for instance, by 50 students and Boston University by over 800.

This new level of uncertainty has led many colleges to fill more of their classes through Early Decision (since it offers the certainty of applicants who have pledged to attend if admitted). This, in turn, has led to many striking contrasts between Early and Regular Decision admit rates. For example, Vanderbilt University’s admit rates by round were 24.1% for Early Decision I, 10.3% for Early Decision II, and 4.7% for Regular Decision. Brown University’s were 14.6% for Early Decision and 3.6% for Regular Decision.


Test Optional Means Different Things at Different Schools

While the majority of colleges will remain test optional for the coming application cycle, sending strong standardized test scores can be helpful. The percentages of applicants who submit scores varies widely from school-to-school. A few examples from this past year:

  • Emory University: 71%
  • Boston College: 67%
  • Vanderbilt University: 60%
  • Wesleyan University: 60%
  • Lehigh University: 52%
  • Middlebury College: just over 50%
  • Trinity College: 18%


Changing Landscape: the Bottom Line

As we will discuss in detail in our next post, standing out in ever-increasing applicant pools takes a thorough approach to college research and demonstrating interest; Early Decision continues to carry an increasing weight; and decisions about sending test scores should be considered in light of students’ profiles and areas of interest, as well as informed by data (where available) on specific schools’ average score ranges as well as the percentages of applicants sending scores.


This sounds like a lot to keep in mind—and it is! But by taking a smart, step-by-step approach, you can create an application plan that will lead to great outcomes!

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