How Recent Trends in College Planning and College Admissions May Affect Your Family

By now, most students have made up their minds about where they are going to college in the fall, although a few are still on waitlists. In recent years, some interesting trends have become apparent in college planning and college admissions. Here are some observations that may affect your student:

1. High school counselors are being cut at many public schools causing the counseling loads to increase. The average high school counselor works with 450 students and spends 28% of his or her time on college planning. More families are turning to educational consultants and college planners because of the individual attention they can provide.

2. Public universities have become more expensive due to budget cuts and rising tuition. In addition to rising tuition, many state universities are saving money by limiting classes. Some feel this is why students are taking an average of 6.2 years to graduate. For parents, this means an additional 2 years of college expenses. Many students are including some private schools that are committed to seeing their students graduate in 4 years on their college lists.

3. The Ivy League schools are now accepting less than 10% of their applicants. This means that students who aim for these schools cannot expect to get in with only top grades and test scores. A niche is almost always a necessity. Guiding students in their extracurricular activities can make a difference.

4. International students are being sought after by colleges in the U.S, This is increasing the competition in college admissions for all students. Many colleges are actively recruiting international students who come from wealthy families who can pay the full tuition.

5. Students whose families can pay the full amount are having more success with college admissions than those who require financial aid. Some schools are no longer able to be need-blind in accepting students. Paying for college has become a problem for a much larger segment of the population. Many parents, however, are turning to college planners who are providing some very valuable guidance to help make college more affordable.

6. Applications have continued to rise at almost every school in the U.S. It has become quite common for students to apply to a large number of schools. Applying to as many as 15 or 20 schools is not out of the question for some. Many students feel they need the additional colleges because of the competition.

7. More students are applying Early Decision even though they are not always sure it is the school they want to attend. Since Early Decision is binding, this is a problem for both students and colleges. Early Decision and Early Action continue to be debated as to whom they benefit the most.

8. More students are considering a gap year to give the economy a chance to rebound before they enter college. A gap year can be beneficial to students who may not be quite ready for college. It is also an opportunity for students to participate in a unique experience that they might not have otherwise.

9. Women continue to have a bigger struggle in college admissions than men. Many schools today have a ratio of 60:40 women to men. Therefore, more men seem to be accepted at schools with lower grades and test scores than women.

While these are observations from the 2010 college admissions period, it is important for parents to know about these trends in order to guide their children as they begin to think about college.