College Admissions: Applications Surge at Many Elite Colleges

Monday, February 09, 2015

 

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Despite promises of a declining demographic in college age students, applications are up this year at many of the nation’s most elite colleges. From large state universities to small liberal arts colleges and the Ivy League, students are applying in record numbers. Still amidst the winners, there are a few notable losers.

Harvard applications rose 9 percent from last year. According to officials, this was due to financial aid and social media campaigns targeting prospective students. Conversely, Yale saw a 2 percent decline in applications after cutting the number of mailings and viewbooks it sent out by 20 percent. Applications at Dartmouth jumped 6 percent, the University of Pennsylvania saw a 4 percent increase, and Princeton experienced just a 1 percent rise in apps. 

Urban universities are once again big winners this year, as more students opt for the bustle of city life with internship options and a plethora of campus activities. New York University experienced its largest increase in applications in 15 years. A record 37,305 applied for the class of 2019.  Heading south, applications to Emory University’s elite undergraduate programs in Atlanta have hit an all-time high, exceeding 20,000 applications for the class of 2019. Their College of Arts and Sciences applications surged 15 percent. Officials at Emory pointed to the positive media coverage of Ebola victims and their treatment at Emory facilities as a possible reason for the rise in interest.

Proving that a liberal arts education is still relevant in the 21st century, Colby posted an astounding 47 percent increase in applications this year. The school did not release an explanation, but did drop the required supplemental essay this year. Union College in Schenectady, New York also experience an increase in applications, up 10 percent. And for those who thought women’s colleges had become obsolete, Smith College shattered expectations with a 12 percent increase in applications.

Among the country’s most prestigious state universities, there were some big winners and losers. The University of Wisconsin at Madison set another record this year with applications up 8 percent over last year. And in California, 193,873 students sought entrance to at least one of UC's 9 undergraduate campuses, a roughly 6 percent increase. Meanwhile, applications rocketed at the University of Washington, up a robust 16 percent. On the losing side, however, the University of Virginia posted a decline in applications. Embroiled in a frenzy of bad publicity surrounding a student murder and multiple sexual assault scandals on campus, the University has faced an uphill battle in attracting students for the class of 2019. 

For high school seniors still awaiting decisions, these numbers provide some insight into the climate for this admission season, but many schools have not yet released numbers. Check your college’s news page for more information over the coming weeks.

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Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic college counseling, SAT prep and athletic recruiting services www.collegeadvisorsonline.com. 

 

Related Slideshow: New England Colleges With the Best Undergraduate Teaching

U.S. News & World Report released a survey conducted in 2013 of college administrators on the best schools for undergraduate teaching. Several New England made their lists for best National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, and Regional Universities. See which schools made the lists in the slides below: 

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National Universities

9. Brown University

Providence, RI 
 
Students: 6,435
2013-14 Tuition: $45,612
Admissions: 9.6% Acceptance Rate
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National Universities

5. Yale University 

New Haven, CT
 
Students: 5,405
2013-14 Tuition: $44,000
Admissions: 7.0% Acceptance Rate
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National Universities

1. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
 
Students: 4,193
2013-14 Tuition: $46,752
Admissions: 9.8% Acceptance Rate
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Liberal Arts Colleges

18. Mount Holyoke College

 
South Hadley, MA 
 
Students: 2,322
2013-14 Tuition: $41,456
Admissions: 42.1% Acceptance Rate
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Liberal Arts Colleges

9. Amherst College

Amherst, MA
 
Students: 1,817 
2013-14 Tuition: $46,574
Admissions: 13.0% Acceptance Rate
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Liberal Arts Colleges

5. Williams College

Williamstown, MA
 
Students: 2,052
2013-14 Tuition: $46,600
Admissions: 17.0% Acceptance Rate
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Regional Univ. - North

4. Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT
 
Students: 3,879
2013-14 Tuition: $42,920
Admissions: 71.2% Acceptance Rate
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Regional Univ. - North

2. Providence College

Providence, RI
 
Students: 3,810
2013-14 Tuition: $42,206
Admissions: 61.0%
 
 

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