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NACAC

State of College Admission


THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

SEPTEMBER 2008

A government relations and leadership program for NACAC members

AUTHORS:
Melissa E. Clinedinst Assistant Director of Research NACAC
Edited by

David A. Hawkins Director of Public Policy and Research NACAC

State of College Admission 2008

Melissa E. Clinedinst NACAC Assistant Director of Research


Edited by

David A. Hawkins NACAC Director of Public Policy and Research

2008 NACAC Board of Directors


President
Kimberly Johnston The University of Maine, ME

Directors
Richard P. Alvarez City University of New York, NY John Boshoven Community High School/Ann Arbor Public Schools, MI Scott Hooker Allendale Columbia School, NY Allen V. Lentino Northwestern University, IL James L. Miller University of WisconsinSuperior, WI Carl F. Peterson Forest Hills Eastern High School, MI Lisa Sohmer Garden School, NY Evelyn Boyd White Thomas Dale High School, VA

President-Elect
William McClintick Mercersburg Academy, PA

Past President
Mary Lee Hoganson Retired College Consultant Homewood Flossmoor High School and The University of Chicago Laboratory High Schools, IL

Coordinator of the State and Regional Presidents Council


Terry Knaus Indiana University, IN

Chief Executive Officer


Joyce E. Smith

Copyright 2008 National Association for College Admission Counseling All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except for brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Additional copies of the 2008 State of College Admission are available for members ($20) and for nonmembers ($35) plus $5 shipping by sending orders to: NACAC 1050 N. Highland Street Suite 400 Arlington, VA 22201 Phone: 800/822-6285 Fax: 703/373-2403 www.nacacnet.org

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Acknowledgements
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) wishes to acknowledge the following key individuals and groups for their contribution to this report. Most importantly, NACAC would like to thank the secondary school counselors and admission officers who gave of their valuable time to participate in the annual Admission and Counseling Trends surveys. The report would not be possible without the data collected from these surveys. The association also appreciates the US Department of Education and the College Board for sharing the education data they collect for inclusion in this report. Finally, the authors of the report wish to thank the following members of the NACAC staff for their assistance with survey development and administration, and with compiling, reviewing, editing, designing, and promoting the final report: Joyce Smith, Chief Executive Officer; Anita Bollt, Deputy Executive Director; Shanda Ivory, Director of Communications, Publications and Technology; Kristen Bourke, Assistant Director of Communications, Publications and Technology; Sarah Cox, Graphic Designer; Kate Miller, former Publications Assistant; Daisy Kinard, Publications Coordinator; Mohamoud Gudaal, Senior Computer Systems Administrator; Michelle Lucas, Assistant Director of Information Technology; James Dodd, Office and Facilities Manager; and Lindsey Triplett, former Public Policy Assistant.

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Preface
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) offers the State of College Admission each Fall to describe key trends in the transition from high school to college. The 2008 edition marks the sixth anniversary of this report. expansive growth, while others are already coping with declines. Many colleges and universities already have begun to make plans to mitigate the impact of these changes on their institutions, reevaluating their recruitment strategies and, in some cases, the scope of their missions.i NACAC has commissioned a white paper to be released in 2009 that will illustrate the effects of the current admission environment on the practices adopted by colleges and universities and will suggest strategies for ensuring ethical practice as the surplus of high school graduates begins to decline in many areas of the nation.

Competition in College Admission


In recent years, the perceived increase in competition for spots at the nations colleges and universities has garnered much media attention and fueled a great deal of anxiety among students, parents and counselors. While college and university admission statistics do show that competition has increased at the most selective colleges, they also demonstrate that the overall acceptance rate, across all four-year institutions, has remained relatively unchanged. As shown in Chapter 2, the average acceptance rate is nearly seven out of ten. Increased competition at some schools is likely due to the record high number of high school graduates and increases in the number of applications that each student submits, as documented in Chapter 1 and 2. A record high 3.33 million students are expected to graduate from college in 2009, so, for the immediate future attention will remain focused on competition in admission. However, the graduating class of 2009 represents the crest of a national population wave that will begin a slow but steady decline at least through the class of 2017. National figures mask stark variations by state and region. During the anticipated national decline in high school graduates, some states will continue to experience
i

Notable in 200708 Access and Equity


Minority racial and ethnic groups continue to be under-represented in four-year colleges and universities compared to their share of the collegeage population, due to both lower high school graduation rates and lower rates of transition from high school to college, as documented in Chapter 1. Despite the efforts of educators and policy makers, these gaps have improved only marginally in the past two decades. According to the 2008 edition of Knocking at the College Door, the nation will experience a dramatic shift in the racial/ethnic composition of high school graduates in the next 15 years, as the share of White, nonHispanic students declines and minority student populationsparticularly Hispanics and Asian/ Pacific Islandersincrease.ii

In a 2008 survey of senior-level admission officers conducted by the Chronicle of Education, 45 percent indicated having a plan to address demographic changes of prospective undergraduates, and 43 percent indicated that a plan was in development. Results are available at: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i34/34b01501.htm. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). 2008. Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates by State and Race/Ethnicity, 19922022. Boulder, Colorado: WICHE.
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Colleges and universities will be increasingly challenged to assess the impact of their recruitment and admission practices on access for students who have traditionally been under-served by the higher education system. It also will be critical to ensure that appropriate support services are in place to help these under-represented students succeed once in college. The challenge of these demographic changes will be amplified by opposition to the practice of considering race in admission in a growing number of states. Secondary school counselors, particularly those serving public schools, also will play a critical role in increasing postsecondary transition rates for under-represented groups. Research shows that even academically qualified students who are first-generation and/or low-income have a difficult time navigating the process of applying to college, selecting a school to attend and enrolling.iii Research also shows that counselors have a positive impact on students aspirations and achievement when consistently and frequently available.iv Unfortunately, as shown in Chapter 5, most public school counselors are faced with exceedingly high student-to-counselor ratios. On average, each public school counselor serves nearly 500 students, well above the ideal ratio of 100:1 recommended by NACAC.

student loans. Although some lenders did scale back student lending or pull out of the student loan market entirely, both colleges and students have continued to have access to student loan funds. In addition, Congress enacted emergency legislation to guard against a potential crisis in the student loan industry. New financial aid initiatives which expand affordability for moderate- and upper-income families through enhanced grant aid and/or loan elimination also drew renewed attention to how colleges use their own funds to support student financial aid and for what purpose. A NACAC-commissioned white paperreleased concurrently with this reportexplores how financial need and financial aid are considered and utilized in the admission process. Needaware admission and financial aid practices, including tuition discounting and merit aid, have re-emerged as prominent practices, and this paper explores implications for access and fairness in college pricing.

Student Disciplinary Information and College Admission


The tragic events at Virginia Tech in April 2007 raised concerns among educators, parents and school officials about the safety of students and amplified an ongoing discussion among school counseling and admission professionals regarding the conditions under which confidential student information can and should be shared. To help inform this conversation, NACAC conducted survey research in 2007 to learn more about secondary schools policies and practices related to disclosure of disciplinary information to colleges, as well as colleges practices related to retraction of admission offers.

Financial Aid and Student Loans


The price of college and the availability of financial aid for low- and moderate-income students is a perpetual concern among students, parents, and all educators and policy makers who care about access to postsecondary education. These concerns were magnified in the past year due to fear that the credit instability affecting the lending industry would reduce the availability of
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Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR). (2008). From High School to the Future: Potholes on the Road to College. Chicago: CCSR. McDonough, P. (2006). Counseling and College Counseling in Americas High Schools. Alexandria, VA: National Association for College Admission Counseling.

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NACACs Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) recommends that secondary members establish written policies on disclosure of student disciplinary information to colleges, but NACACs research found that nearly three-quarters of secondary schools do not have these policies, as shown in Chapter 5. However, school counselors and high schools are making judgments about whether and what to disclose to colleges. Nearly one-quarter of counseling offices indicated that they do disclose information and an additional 39 percent disclose at least in some cases. NACAC released a Research to Practice Brief in conjunction with this report that describes our research on the subject in more detail and includes sample disclosure policies from a variety of secondary schools. Admission offices reserve the right to revoke offers of admission, and 35 percent of colleges exercised this right for the Fall 2007 admission cycle. As shown in Chapter 4, admission offers were revoked most commonly due to students final grades. Falsification of application information and disciplinary issues also resulted in admission offer retractions. When asked how likely various disciplinary issues were to result in retraction of an admission offer, institutions rated violence as most likely.

programs utilized their wait lists more heavily in order to ensure a full freshman class without the benefit of early admits. This situation had a cascading effect on other institutions, compounding an already increasing difficulty in predicting yield due to growth in application volume and increased price sensitivity among students as a result of the weak economy. As shown in Chapter 3 of this report, NACACs Admission Trends Survey showed for the first time an increase in the percentage of institutions utilizing a wait listfrom about one-third to 41 percent. Chapter 3 also provides data on the number of colleges that utilize early admission options, as well as the percentage of students who are admitted through early admission and off of wait lists.

Standardized Admission Testing


Although an increasing number of colleges have adopted test-optional admission policies in recent years, NACAC survey data show that the importance of standardized testing across all four-year colleges and universities has increased over the past 15 years (see Chapter 4). In addition, standardized admission tests (SAT and ACT) have gained increased prominence in secondary schools as both assessment and accountability tools. The increased emphasis on testing has heightened the debate about the appropriate use of these tests and fairness implications for how they are used in admission. NACAC appointed a Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission to make practice-related recommendations based on group discussion and on the core observations made by the National Research Council in its 1999 Myths and Tradeoffs report.v The Commissions recommendationsoutlined in its final report,

Early Admission Policies and Wait Lists


When several selective institutions eliminated or scaled back their early admission programs in 2006, many expected that other colleges would respond similarly. Although that did not happen, the change in admission policies at these institutions may have had other implications for peer institutions. Media reports suggest that some institutions that eliminated early admission

National Research Council. (1999). Myths and Tradeoffs: The Role of Tests in Undergraduate Admissions. Alexandra Beatty, M. R. C. Greenwood, and Robert L. Linn, Editors; Steering Committee for the Workshop on Higher Education Admissions.

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released at NACACs 2008 National Conference encourage colleges to support independent evaluation of test use and to take into account disparities in access to test preparation when making admission decisions; and asks secondary schools to share best practice information for test preparation and to offer test preparation only as part of a larger college preparation effort.

Looking Ahead
College admission trends will continue along the current trajectory for the foreseeable future, despite a gradual decline in the number of high school graduates in the coming decade. Trends will vary by state and region, meaning that colleges are likely to feel the impact of this decline in different ways. Education reform efforts may increase the percentage of high school graduates seeking entry into collegea desirable result that may mitigate the decline in the number of graduates. Whether the number of students enrolling in college grows or declines, colleges are likely to continue to resort to increasingly sophisticated techniques to sort through abundant applications to find students who are truly interested in attending their institution. Students may respond to the increasing sophistication by introducing their own techniques to hedge their bets and obtain the offer most appealing to them. For the bulk of Americans wishing to enroll in postsecondary education, there is plenty of opportunity to go around. Our primary mission, as it has been throughout the history of modern college admission, is to ensure equal access to educational opportunity for all who seek it.

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Table of Contents
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Chapter 1

High School Graduation and College Enrollment . . . 7


Chapter 2

Applications to College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 3

Admission Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Chapter 4

Factors in the Admission Decision . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33


Chapter 5

School Counselors and College Counseling . . . . . . 47


Chapter 6

The College Admission Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Executive Summary
Highlights from the 2008 State of College Admission report include the following findings pertaining to the transition from high school to postsecondary education in the United States. pronounced at four-year colleges. In 2005, blacks and Hispanics constituted only 20 percent of students enrolled in fouryear colleges, even though together they constituted 32 percent of the national college-aged population.

High School Graduation and College Enrollment


A population wave has fueled record numbers of high school graduates and students enrolled in postsecondary education. However, the proportion of high school graduates that directly enroll in college has not changed substantially in the last decade. Racial/ethnic minorities continue to be under-represented among both high school graduates and college students. Continued Increase in Number of High School Graduates: In 200708, an estimated 3.3 million students graduated from high school in the US. The number of high school graduates is expected to peak with a graduating class of 3.33 million in 200809, but is not expected to fall below 3.2 million through 201617. However, there are wide variations by state and region, and some states are experiencing substantial declines in high school graduates. College Enrollment Continues at AllTime High: As of 2005, approximately 17.5 million students were enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Total college enrollment is expected to continue increasing until at least 2016. Racial/Ethnic Enrollment Imbalance: White high school graduates have been consistently more likely to enroll directly in college in comparison to black and Hispanic students. Under-representation in postsecondary education was most

Applications to College
Applications to four-year colleges continued to increase, fueled by a combination of growth in the number of high school graduates, the ease of online applications and growth in the number of applications each student submits. Although the most highly selective colleges have become even more selective, four-year institutions nationwide accepted an average of about seven out of every 10 applicants who applied for admission. Applications Increase Again: For the third year in a row, approximately three-quarters of four-year colleges and universities reported an increase in the number of applications from the previous year. The number of applications that individual students submit also has continued to increase. Nineteen percent of Fall 2007 freshman had submitted seven or more applications for admission. Colleges Accept 68 Percent of Applicants: The average selectivity ratepercentage of applicants who are offered admissionat four-year colleges and universities in the United States was 68 percent for Fall 2006. The average institutional yield ratepercentage of admitted students who enrollwas 46 percent. Online Applications Increase: Colleges received 68 percent of all applications for Fall 2007 admission online, up from 58 percent in the Fall 2006 admission cycle.
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Admission Strategies: Early Decision, Early Action, Wait Lists, and Priority Applications
Though employed by a minority of institutions in the US, admission strategies like Early Decision, Early Action and wait lists are fixtures of the college admission landscape, likely due to the presence of such policies at Americas most selective colleges and universities. Early Decision Applications Down/ Early Action Applications Up: Early Decision (ED) application volume appears to have declined after two years of increases. In 2007, just under half (49 percent) of institutions reported increases from the previous year in ED applications compared to 63 percent in 2006 and 58 percent in 2005. However, a majority of institutions reported increases in Early Action application volume for the third year in a row81 percent of institutions in 2007, 70 percent in 2006 and 80 percent in 2005. More Institutions Use Wait Lists But Chances of Acceptance Are Slim: Forty-one percent of colleges reported using a wait list for the Fall 2007 admission cycle, which represents a substantial increase from previous years when the proportion using a wait list was approximately one-third. However, a students likelihood of being admitted from the wait list remained at less than one in three. On average, 30 percent of students who opted to remain on a wait list in 2007 were ultimately admitted, which is similar to 2006. Use of Priority Applications: In 2007, NACAC asked colleges to report for the second time on their use of priority applications, defined as an application processdifferent from the traditional student-initiated applicationin which students are sent partially completed applications by mail or email. Sixteen percent of colleges reported using this type of application process.

Factors in the Admission Decision


The factors that admission officers use to evaluate applications have remained largely consistent over the past 15 years. Students academic achievementswhich include grades, strength of curriculum and admission test scoresconstitute the most important factors in the admission decision. Admission Offices Identify Grades, High School Curriculum and Test Scores as Top Factors: The top factors in the admission decision were (in order): grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, standardized admission test scores, and overall high school grade point average. The application essay and class rank placed fifth and sixth, followed closely by students demonstrated interest in attending, counselor recommendations and teacher recommendations. Students Demonstrated Interest in Attending: Over the past five years, an increasing proportion of colleges and universities have rated a students demonstrated interest in attending an institution as considerably important. The percentage increased from seven in 2003 (the first year it was included on NACACs Admission Trends Survey) to 22 percent in 2007. Use of Class Rank in Admission: Eighty-one percent of high schools in the US indicated that they recognize individual students with top numeric ranks, such as valedictorian and salutatorian. However, only 68 percent of high schools reported that they regularly provide a students numeric rank to colleges. Public schools were seven times more likely than private schools to report that they regularly provide class rank to colleges (78 percent versus 11 percent).

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Student Background Information: About one-quarter of colleges rated race/ ethnicity, first-generation status, high school attended, and alumni relations as at least moderately important as contextual factors in evaluating the main admission factors. Why Colleges Revoke Admission Offers: More than one-third (35 percent) of colleges reported that they had revoked an offer of admission during the Fall 2007 admission cycle. Final grades was the most common reason for these retractions, followed by falsification of application information and disciplinary issues. When asked to indicate how likely various disciplinary issues were to result in the retraction of an admission offer, violence was by far the most likely, followed by cheating, drug-related offenses and theft.

College Counseling Staff: In 2007, 37 percent of public schools reported employing at least one counselor (full- or part-time) whose exclusive responsibility was to provide college counseling, compared to 76 percent of private schools. Disclosure of Student Disciplinary Information to Colleges: Nearly threequarters (74 percent) of secondary schools do not have written policies related to disclosure of disciplinary information to colleges. As general practice, 23 percent of secondary schools reported that they disclose student disciplinary information to colleges, and an additional 39 percent disclose in some cases.

The College Admission Office


College admission offices are comprised of individuals who have varied academic and professional backgrounds. Admission office requirements, expenditures and procedures vary based on the type of institution. Ratio of Applicants to Admission Officers: On average, the ratio of applications to admission officers at colleges and universities in the US was 423:1 in 2007. The average ratio at public institutions was 756:1, compared to 299:1 at private institutions. Skills to Lead the Admission Office: Marketing/public relations skills and statistics/data analysis skills were rated second only to previous admission experience as very important qualifications for the position of chief enrollment officer. Cost to Recruit: On average, colleges and universities spent about $578 to recruit each applicant for Fall 2007 admission, $836 to recruit each admitted student and $2,366 to recruit each enrolled student (when admission staff salaries and benefits were included in the admission office budget).
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School Counselors and College Counseling


Access to college information and counseling in school is a significant benefit to students in the college application process. For many students, particularly those in public schools, college counseling is limited at best. Counselors are few in number, often have large student caseloads and are limited in the amount of time they are able to dedicate to college counseling. Student to Counselor Ratio: According to data from the US Department of Education, in 200405, the national public school student-to-counselor ratio was 474:1, including K12 schools. NACAC survey data indicated an average secondary school student-to-counselor ratio, including parttime staff, of 247:1. Time Spent Counseling for College: On average, public school counselors spent 23 percent of their time on postsecondary counseling in 2007, while their private school counterparts spent 58 percent of their time on college counseling.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Introduction
This report provides current and time series data on a number of factors related to college counseling in secondary schools, the activity of postsecondary admission offices and other issues of relevance to the transition from high school to college. Data included in the report come from four main sources: NACACs annual Counseling Trends Survey NACACs annual Admission Trends Survey Data provided to NACAC from the College Boards annual survey of colleges Publicly available data collected by the federal government, including data from the US Department of Education and the US Census Bureau. students academic options and experiences; and their practices in communicating with students, parents and colleges. Past surveys also have included special sections on a variety of topics, including professional development, financial aid and parent involvement. In April 2007, NACAC distributed its annual Counseling Trends Survey to 10,000 high school guidance offices across the United States1,844 NACAC member high schools (including private schools) and 8,156 nonmember public high schools. The nonmember public high schools were selected by random sample using a list of all public high schools from the US Department of Educations Common Core of Data. A paper survey was mailed, but respondents also were given the option of completing an online version of the survey. NACAC received 2,306 responses to the surveya 23 percent response rate. Table 1 provides a comparison of the characteristics of NACAC Counseling Trends Survey respondents

NACACs Counseling Trends Survey


The purpose of this survey is to collect information from secondary school counselors and counseling departments about their priorities and work responsibilities, particularly in relation to their roles in helping students get into college; their

Table 1. NACAC 2007 Secondary School Counseling Trends Survey respondent characteristics compared to national school characteristics
NACAC public respondents 83.9% 10.7 30.6 58.7 1028 All public schools 89.4% 25.5 33.2 41.3 629 NACAC private, nonparochial respondents 11.1% 46.8 29.4 23.8 509 All private, nonparochial schools 3.3% 36.5 44.0 19.5 141 NACAC private, parochial respondents 5.0% 60.9 32.7 6.4 665 All private, parochial schools 7.3% 34.1 32.4 33.5 392

Total percent of schools 1 Locale Urban Suburban Rural Enrollment Mean enrollment

NACAC respondents 100% 17.2 30.5 52.3 954


2

All schools 100% 28.4 34.2 37.4 596

-- = not available 1 For NACAC respondents, locale is defined according to the population of the city or town in which the school is located (rural = fewer than 25,000 people; suburban = 25,000 to 249,999 people; and urban = 250,000 or more people). For national data, locale is defined based on US Department of Education community type classifications. 2 Survey respondents were asked to indicate participation in both federal and state-sponsored programs; national data is available for the federal program only. NOTE: For each column, data are for the most recent year available. All NACAC respondent data are for 200607. Data for all public schools are for 200506. Data for all private schools and for all schools are for 200304. For locale and free and reduced price lunch, national data are for elementary and secondary schools combined. All other data are for secondary schools only. SOURCES: Hoffman, L. (2007). Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005 06 (NCES 2007-354rev). US Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Tables 6 and 7). Digest of Education Statistics. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Tables 5, 36, and 55). Digest of Education Statistics. (2005). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 87). NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Free and reduced price lunch Percent eligible 25.6

--

29.8

41.6

4.1

--

2.1

--

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to those of all public and private secondary schools in the US. (For locale and percent eligible for free and reduced price lunch, national data is for elementary and secondary schools combined. Data were not available for a comparison to secondary schools only.) NACAC survey respondents were 84 percent public, 11 percent private, non-parochial and five percent private, parochial, making the survey sample somewhat over-representative of private, non-parochial schools. Table 1 also shows that public school respondents were somewhat under-representative of all public schools in the percentage of students who were eligible for free or reduced price lunch programs. Public NACAC respondents were disproportionately located in rural areas compared to all public schools. Private NACAC respondents, particularly parochial schools, were more likely to be located in urban areas in comparison to all private schools. NACAC respondent schools also reported larger enrollments on average than all secondary schools in the US.

NACACs Admission Trends Survey


The purpose of this survey is to collect information from college admission offices about application volume; the use of various enrollment management strategies, including wait lists, Early Decision and Early Action; the importance of various factors in the admission decision; and admission office functions, staff, budget, and operations. In September 2007, NACAC distributed its annual Admission Trends Survey to all 1,916 four-year, not-for-profit, baccalaureate degree-granting, Title IV-participating institutions of postsecondary education in the United States. NACAC received 382 responses to the surveya response rate of 20 percent. Of these respondents, 28 percent were public and 72 percent were private, which is fairly representative of all institutions. Respondents also were largely representative by region, selectivity and yield. Respondents were somewhat overrepresentative of institutions located in the Midwest region, and public respondents were larger on average (see Table 2).

Table 2. NACAC 2007 Admission Trends Survey respondent characteristics compared to national college/university characteristics
NACAC respondents 100% 4,405 All colleges 100% 3,976 8.6% 20.1 22.3 28.0 7.8 13.2 68.3% 45.6 NACAC public respondents 28.0% 10,786 6.5% 18.7 20.6 30.8 6.5 16.8 71.3% 45.3 All public colleges 32.4% 8,195 7.0% 18.0 23.8 24.6 11.7 14.9 70.4% 45.6 NACAC private respondents 72.0% 2,024 12.4% 19.6 16.4 36.4 4.4 10.9 68.0% 38.4 All private colleges 67.6% 1,952 9.4% 21.3 21.5 29.8 5.7 12.3 67.4% 45.6

Total Mean enrollment

New EnglandMaine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island Middle StatesNew York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia SouthKentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas MidwestOhio, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas SouthwestArizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico WestAlaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado

New England 10.7% Middle States 19.4 South 17.5 Midwest 34.8 Southwest 5.0 West 12.6 Selectivity and Yield Mean Selectivity 68.9% Mean Yield 40.3

NOTE: Data for all colleges are for 200607. Twenty-three percent of colleges reported admission statistics (i.e. selectivity and yield) for Fall 2005. The list of colleges used to represent all colleges was drawn from the 200506 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and is the same list that was used for the survey mailing. Institutions were selected using the following criteria: US location, four-year, not-for-profit, baccalaureate degree-granting, and Title IV-participating. SOURCES: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Peer Analysis System. (200506 and 200607). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

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Chapter 1. High School Graduation and College Enrollment

Contents
High School Completion The Transition from High School to College College Enrollment

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Helping all students make the transition from high school graduation to college enrollment is at the core of NACACs mission. Students success in secondary and postsecondary education is critically important for the economic future of the nation. High school graduation is a necessary first step to individuals economic independence, but postsecondary education is becoming an increasingly important gateway for entrance into the middle classparticularly for low-income and first-generation students. In 2007, only 29 percent of all adults age 25 and older had obtained at least a bachelors degree.1

High School Completion Increase in High School Graduates The number of high school graduates has been steadily increasing since the mid-1990s and is expected to reach a peak of 3.33 million in 200809. Although the number of graduates will begin to fall after the 2009 graduating class, it is not projected to fall below 3.2 million through 201617.4 This pattern of change in the number of high school graduatesillustrated in Figure 1 reflects overall changes in the high-schoolaged population, rather than increases in the percentage of students completing high school. High school completion rates have increased very little in this 35-year time period (see Figure 3).5

In 2006, workers with a high school diploma earned an average of only $31,071, compared to $56,788 for those with a bachelors degree and $82,320 for those with Figure 1. Number of high school graduates, actual and projected: a masters, professional or doctoral 1970-71 to 2016-17 2 degree. The typical lifetime earnings 3,500 of a bachelors degree recipient total 3,000 $800,000 more than a high school graduate. College graduates also 2,500 are more likely to receive employer2,000 sponsored pensions and health 1,500 insurance. Other factors that are 1,000 associated with increased levels 500 of education include: lower levels of unemployment and poverty; 0 lower smoking rates, more positive perceptions of personal health and Total Public healthier lifestyles; and higher levels of SOURCES: Digest of Education Statistics. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 100). civic engagement, including volunteer Projections of Education Statistics to 2016. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 24). work, voting and blood donation.3
Number of students (thousands) 1970-71 1972-73 1974-75 1976-77 1978-79 1980-81 1982-83 1984-85 1986-87 1988-89

199091

US Census Bureau. (2008). Educational Attainment in the United States: 2007. US Census Bureau. (2008). Educational Attainment in the United States: 2007. 3 Baum, S. and Ma, J. (2007). Education Pays 2007: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society. College Board: Washington, DC. 4 Projections of Education Statistics to 2016. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. 5 Laird, J., DeBell, M., Kienzl, G., and Chapman, C. (2007). Dropout Rates in the United States: 2005. US Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
1 2

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201617

199293

199495

199697

199899

200001

200203

200405

200607

200809

201011

201213

201415

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Despite an overall increasing trend at the national level, there is wide variation by state and region. Between 200304 and 201617, high school graduates are expected to increase by six percent nationally. However, some states will experience much higher rates of increase, including Nevada (68 percent), Utah (45 percent) and Arizona (43 percent); and others will experience substantial decreases, including North Dakota (28 percent), Vermont (22 percent) and South Dakota (20 percent). Overall, increases will be seen in the West, South and Northeast, and decreases will be seen in the Midwest.6 Figure 2 illustrates the relative magnitude of changes in the number of high school graduates by state. High School Completion Rates by Race/ Ethnicity, Income and Gender
7
High school completion rate (%)

Figure 3. High school completion rates of 18- through 24-year-olds by race/ethnicity: 1972 to 2005
95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 October of each year
Total White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic
NOTE: Status completion rates measure the percentage of 18- through 24-year-olds who have left high school and who also hold a high school credential, including regular diplomas and alternative credentials such as GEDs. Because of small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives and Asian/Pacific Islanders are included in the totals by not shown separately. SOURCE: Laird, J., DeBell, M., Kienzl, G., and Chapman, C. (2007). Dropout Rates in the United States: 2005. US Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 11).

High school completion rates vary substantially among different groups of students. For example, in 2005, 92 percent of white 18- through 24-year olds completed high school, compared to 86 percent of black and 70 percent of Hispanic youth. As shown in Figure 3, the gap between black and white students narrowed considerably between the early 1970s and mid-1980s, but has remained between five and eight percentage points since that time. The gap between white and Hispanic students has decreased slightly in the last decade, but still stands at over 20 percentage points.8 Important differences also exist among students from different income backgrounds. In 2006, the average high school completion

Projections of Education Statistics to 2016. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. High school completers include both diploma and GED recipients. 8 Laird, J., DeBell, M., Kienzl, G., and Chapman, C. (2007). Dropout Rates in the United States: 2005. US Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
6 7

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rate among the top quartile of dependent 18through 24-year olds was 92 percent. Students in the third quartile fared nearly as well at 88 percent, followed by 84 percent for the second quartile. However, the average graduation rate for students in the bottom quartile was only 68 percent24 percentage points below that of students with the highest family incomes. Moreover, this gap has decreased only seven percentage points since 1970.9 In every year since 1976, women have completed high school at a higher rate than men. In 2005the most recent year for which data are availablethe gap was 4.5 percentage points (see Figure 4).

The Transition from High School to College College Enrollment Rates of High School Completers From the early 1970s to late 1990s, the percentage of high school completers who go on to college fluctuated but also showed an overall pattern of increase, peaking at 67 percent in 1997. For the last decade, the percentage has hovered in the mid-60 percent rangedecreasing slightly to a low of 62 percent in 2001, reaching a new peak of 69 percent in 2005, and returning to 66 percent for 2006 (see Figure 5).

Figure 4. High school completion rates of 18- through 24-year olds by gender: 1972 to 2005
90
High school completion rate (%)

88 86 84 82 80 78
1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 October of each year Males Females

NOTE: Status completion rates measure the percentage of 18- through 24-year-olds who have left high school and who also hold a high school credential, including regular diplomas and alternative credentials such as GEDs. Because of small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives and Asian/Pacific Islanders are included in the totals by not shown separately. SOURCE: Laird, J., DeBell, M., Kienzl, G., and Chapman, C. (2007). Dropout Rates in the United States: 2005. US Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 11).

Mortenson, T. (2008). Family Income and Higher Education Opportunity, 1970 to 2006. Postsecondary Education Opportunity, Number 192, June.

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College Enrollment Rates by Race/ Ethnicity, Income, Gender, and High School Characteristics As with high school completion, there are persistent gaps in rates of transition from high school to postsecondary enrollment among different groups of students. As shown in Figure 5, both black and Hispanic students who complete high school are less likely than white students to enroll in college. Even more dramatic differences are seen among high school completers of different income backgrounds. High school completers age 18 through 24 who are from the highest family income quartile transition to postsecondary education at a rate of 88 percent. Students from

the third and second income quartiles continue to college at rates of 77 percent and 70 percent, respectively. However, students from the lowest income quartile transition to college at a rate of only 56 percent.10 Results of NACACs Counseling Trends Survey provide further evidence of this pattern. Counselors at schools with the highest proportion of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch (FRPL)a proxy for family incomereported much lower college enrollment rates for their graduates.11 In fact, there was a difference of 30 percentage points between schools with more than 75 percent eligible for FRPL and schools with 25 percent or fewer eligible. In addition, students who graduated from private high

Figure 5. College enrollment rates of recent high school completers by race/ethnicity: 1972 to 2006
80 70 College enrollment rate (%) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 October of each year
Total White, non-hispanic Black, non-hispanic Hispanic
NOTE: Enrollment in college as of October of each year for individuals ages 16 through 24 who completed high school during the preceding 12 months. High school completers include both diploma and GED recipients. Data for Hispanics for all years except 1972 and 2006 are three-year moving averages to compensate for relatively large sampling errors caused by small sample sizes. SOURCE: Digest of Education Statistics. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 192).
10 11

Mortenson, T. (2008). Family Income and Higher Education Opportunity, 1970 to 2006. Postsecondary Education Opportunity, Number 192, June. Correlation between percent eligible for FRPL and total college attendance rate = -.513, p < .01

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Table 3. Mean college enrollment rates of high school graduates at Counseling Trends Survey respondent schools: 2007
Four-year institutions 55.0% 47.5 92.7 94.7 88.1 47.3 58.8 71.1 54.7 56.5 56.9 54.5 51.2 65.7 41.4 36.7 27.2 62.1 59.4 54.0 49.1 47.6 50.4 Two-year institutions 24.5% 28.3 4.5 2.6 8.8 28.0 22.8 16.9 23.5 24.0 23.2 26.0 29.2 20.6 30.5 29.4 29.1 19.5 22.0 26.0 27.3 29.1 27.4 Total college enrollment rate 79.3% 75.9 96.9 97.1 96.5 75.2 81.6 87.6 78.0 80.2 80.0 80.5 80.2 86.1 72.0 66.1 56.2 81.3 81.2 79.9 76.3 76.7 77.0

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people 25,000 to 249,999 250,000 or more Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100% Student-to-counselor ratio 100:1 or fewer 101:1 to 200:1 201:1 to 300:1 301:1 to 400:1 401:1 to 500:1 More than 500:1

schools were much more likely to enroll in postsecondary education immediately after high school than students from public high schools (see Table 3). Gender differences in transition rates also have emerged since the late 1980s. Since this time, women have enrolled in college at a higher rate than men in almost every year. The gender gap in college enrollment reached a peak of 10 percentage points in 2004, but has decreased in the past few years. In fact, in 2006the most recent year for which data are availablewomen and men enrolled at virtually the same rate of 66 percent. More data will be needed to determine whether this is a temporary fluctuation or a more persistent narrowing of the gender gap (see Figure 6). College Enrollment In 2005the most recent year for which data are available17.5 million students were enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Of that total, 13 million (74 percent) were enrolled in public institutions and 11.0 million (63 percent) were enrolled in four-year institutions. Due to changes in both the number of high school graduates and the rate at which they enroll in college, the total number of students enrolled in postsecondary education has increased steadily over the past 35 years. Most of that growth has been at public institutions. The total number of college students is expected to continue increasing

Figure 6. College enrollment rates of high school completers by gender: 1972 to 2006
75.0 College Enrollment rate (%) 70.0 65.0 60.0 55.0 50.0 45.0 40.0 35.0 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 October of each year
Males Females
NOTE: Enrollment in college as of October of each year for individuals ages 16 through 24 who completed high school during the preceding 12 months. High school completers include both diploma and GED recipients. SOURCE: Digest of Education Statistics. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 191).

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at least through 2016. Total enrollment increased 22 percent from 1991 to 2005 and is projected to increase an additional 17 percent between 2005 and 2016.12 College Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity, Income and Gender Under-representation of certain groups in postsecondary education is a direct consequence of the different rates of high school completion and transition to college discussed earlier in the chapter. Although minority enrollment in postsecondary education has become slightly more reflective of the national population, some minority groups are still under-represented. In 2005, black and Hispanic persons constituted approximately 32 percent of the traditional college-aged population, but they represented only about 23 percent of students enrolled in postsecondary education. Hispanics

and American Indian/Alaska Natives were particularly under-represented among private and four-year institutions. Asian/Pacific Islanders were somewhat over-represented in all sectors of higher education compared to their population share (see Table 4). However, a recent study by the US Government Accountability Office highlighted important differences among subgroups of this population.13 Students from low-income families also are under-represented in postsecondary education. In 2005, about 24 percent of low-income 18through 24-year-olds were enrolled in college, compared to 45 percent of those from other income backgrounds.14 In addition, more women than men have been enrolled in college for over 25 years, and Department of Education projections indicate that this gender gap will continue to widen until at least 2016.15

Table 4. White, black and Hispanic enrollment in postsecondary education in comparison with age 18 through 24 population share: 2005
White 61.7 Black 14.8 Hispanic 17.3 Asian/Pacific Islander 4.4
1

Percent of population age 18 through 24 Total Control Public Private Type Four-year or higher Two-year

American Indian/ Alaska Native 1.2 1.0 1.1 0.7 0.9 1.3

Percent of racial/ethnic group enrolled in postsecondary education 68.7 12.4 11.0 6.8 67.3 74.1 72.3 63.0 12.5 12.1 11.7 13.6 12.1 6.8 8.3 15.2 7.0 6.4 6.8 6.9

Includes not-for-profit institutions only.

SOURCES: Digest of Education Statistics. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 220). Annual Estimates of the Population by Sex, Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005. (2006). US Census Bureau, Washington DC: Population Division. (Tables 2 and 4).

Projections of Education Statistics to 2016. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 180). 13 Information Sharing Could Help Institutions Identify and Address Challenges Some Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Students Face. (2007). US Government Accountability Office: Washington, DC. 14 Mortenson, T. (2008). College Participation Rates for Students from Low Income Families by State, FY1993 to FY2006. Postsecondary Education Opportunity, Number 188, February. 15 Projections of Education Statistics to 2016. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics. (2007). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (Table 181).
12

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Chapter 2. Applications to College

Contents
Application Change Over Time Selectivity and Yield The Admission Interface Application Types and Deadlines Cost of Applying to College Gender Trends in College Applications

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Application Change Over Time


Results of NACACs 2007 Admission Trends Survey indicate that colleges continued to experience increases in the number of applications they received. For the third year in a row, approximately three-quarters of the responding institutions reported receiving more applications than in the previous year. Only 20 percent of institutions reported application decreases (see Figure 7). The application increases documented in recent years are due in part to the increased number of high school graduates (see Chapter 1) but also to an increase in the number of applications each student submits. Seventy-one percent of Fall 2007 freshmen applied to three or more colleges, an increase of 10 percentage points since 1990. The percentage of students who submitted seven or more applications also increased, reaching 19 percent in Fall 2007 (see Figure 8).
90 80 70

Figure 7. Percentage of colleges reporting change from the previous year in number of applications for fall admission: 1996 to 2007

73 67 64

74

71

74

76 67

73

75

78

Percentage of colleges

60 50 40 30 20 10 0
15 8 32 25 53

Number of applications increased Number of applications decreased Number of applications stayed the same
20 7 18 7 20

19 14

16 11

17 9

19 10

23 18 8 16 8 10

1999

1996

1997

1998

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Figure 8. Percentage of students submitting three or more and seven or more college applications: 1990 to 2007
80 70 60
62 63 62 62 63 64 67 67 67 70 68 71 71 71

61

60

61

61

Percentage of students

50 40 30 20 10 0
9 8 9 9 10 10 13 14 14 16 16 17 18 19

11

11

11

12

1998

2007

Submitted three or more applications

Submitted seven or more applications

SOURCES: Pryor, J.H., Hurtado, S., Saenz, V.B., Santos, J.L., and Korn, W.S. (2007). The American Freshman: Forty Year Trends, 19662006. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA. Pryor, J.H., Hurtado, S., Sharkness, J., and Korn, W.S. (2007). The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 2007. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.

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2007

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1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

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2006

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Selectivity and Yield Selectivity


Selectivity is defined simply as the proportion of applicants who are offered admission, and is usually expressed as a percentage(number of acceptances/number of applications) x 100. Higher selectivity is equated with lower acceptance rates (i.e. a relatively small number of applicants are admitted). The selectivity of US postsecondary institutions ranges from acceptance rates of fewer than 10 percent to more than 90 percent. Although the mainstream media tends to focus on the most selective colleges, the average acceptance rate across all four-year institutions in the US is nearly 70 percent, according to most recent data. In addition, average acceptance rates for private institutions are only slightly lower than those of publics (see Table 5). Institutions that accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants are generally considered to be the most selective. On average, this group of colleges and universities receives many more applications per institution when compared to their less selective

counterparts (see Table 6). These institutions also are much more likely to offer the Early Decision application option and to maintain a wait list, in part to manage the increased application volume (see Chapter 3).
Table 5. Mean selectivity and yield rates by institutional characteristics: Fall 2006
Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent Selectivity 68.3% 70.4 67.4 69.6 67.3 63.4 36.3 61.6 77.6 93.3 64.6 67.9 70.5 71.6 Yield 45.6% 45.6 45.6 47.6 41.3 42.9 45.4 40.8 42.4 60.7 24.1 36.9 51.6 83.1

NOTE: Twenty-three percent of colleges reported selectivity and yield for Fall 2005. The list of colleges was drawn from the 200506 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and is the same list that was used for the Admission Trends Survey mailing. Institutions were selected using the following criteria: US location, four-year, notfor-profit, baccalaureate degree-granting, and Title IV-participating. SOURCE: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Peer Analysis System. (200506 and 200607). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Table 6. Applications and enrollment by selectivity: Fall 2006


Total number of 1 institutions 257 513 519 276 Total number of applications 1,911,333 2,151,572 1,627,484 448,819 Average number of applications per institution 7,437 4,194 3,135 1,626 National share of applications 31.1% 35.0 26.5 7.3 National share of first-year students 2 enrolled 17.9% 34.5 35.1 12.6

1 2

Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent

351 institutions were missing data for selectivity, and could not be included in the analysis. Refers to full-time, first-time, undergraduate students.

NOTE: Twenty-three percent of colleges reported selectivity for Fall 2005. The list of colleges was drawn from the 200506 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and is the same list that was used for the Admission Trends Survey mailing. Institutions were selected using the following criteria: US location, four-year, not-for-profit, baccalaureate degree-granting, and Title IV-participating. SOURCE: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Peer Analysis System. (200506 and 200607). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

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However, as Table 6 also shows, the most selective colleges as a group received only 31 percent of all applications in Fall 2006. They also represented only 18 percent of all full-time, first-year undergraduate students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities. Most students (70 percent) were enrolled in institutions with selectivity rates between 50 and 85 percent.

technology to research college options, to contact colleges with admission inquiries and, in many cases, to submit applications. Institutions rely on technology to market to prospective students and to more easily and effectively disseminate information about their institutions and their admission procedures.

Online Applications
For the Fall 2007 admission cycle, four-year colleges and universities received an average of 68 percent of their applications online, up from 58 percent in Fall 2006. Enrollment size was directly related to the proportion of applications received online. More selective institutions and those with lower yield rates also received higher percentages of online applications compared to their counterparts (see Table 7).16 The association with yield rate suggests that the ease of applying online may result in more applications that are not likely to translate into enrollments.
Table 7. Mean percentage of applications received online by institutional characteristics: 2007
Mean percentage of online applications 68.2% 70.3 67.4 64.7 69.3 82.3 80.6 68.4 65.4 64.6 75.7 67.5 68.1 50.7

Yield
An institutions yield rate is defined as the percentage of admitted students who decide to enroll(number of enrollments/number of admitted students) x 100. From an institutional perspective, yield is a very important statistic. Admission office staffs conduct sophisticated analyses to predict yield rates in order to ensure that they will fill their freshman classes with students who are a good fit for their institutions. Admission officers also engage in a variety of outreach efforts to enhance the likelihood that students will attend their institutions. For the Fall 2006 freshman class, the average yield rate among four-year colleges and universities was 46 percent, meaning that fewer than half of all students admitted to a given institution accepted those offers of admission (see Table 5). As shown in Figure 8, many students apply to multiple institutions and are accepted to more than one. Consequently, the admission offices task of predicting yield rates and filling (but not overfilling) the freshman class is quite complex.

The Admission Interface


Although the admission process continues to rely heavily on personal contact and paper, technology is being used in specific ways to make the process more manageable. For example, students use
16

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

Correlation between percent of online applications and: enrollment (.310), selectivity (.210), yield (-.294), p < .01

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How Students Approach Colleges


Students use a variety of media to contact colleges about admission; however, email/Internet is the most popular. For the Fall 2007 admission cycle, colleges reported that 30 percent of all admission inquiries were received via email/Internet. Written sources were the second most prevalent at 18 percent, followed by college fairs (15 percent) and high school visits (11 percent) (see Figure 9). Telephone calls were the least utilized means of contacting colleges. In the other category, colleges reported hearing from students through drop-in visits to the campus; open houses and other on-campus events; referrals; and submission of application components, including test scores and transcripts. In comparison to private institutions, public colleges and universities reported receiving more student inquiries through both high school visits (14 percent versus 10 percent) and college fairs (20 percent versus 14 percent). Yield rate also was associated positively with inquires through phone calls and high school visits, suggesting
Figure 9. How prospective students approached institutions with admission inquiries: 2007
Other 17.5% Telephone 8.1%

that contacts through these means may result in a greater likelihood of enrollment if admitted.17

College Admission Web Sites


Many institutions post admission-related information and services on their Web sites, making it easier for students to learn about and apply to their institutions. Nearly all institutions have certain features, including detailed admission information, information about campus tours, college cost and financial aid information, online course catalogs, online forms allowing prospective students to request information via mail, and online applications. In fact, more institutions offered online applications than offered downloadable applications that could be sent via mail (see Figure 10). In 2007, 77 percent of colleges and universities reported offering information on their Web sites that is tailored to parents of prospective students, up from 72 percent in 2006. Over half (58 percent) reported that they offer information intended for high school counselors. A smaller, but still substantial, number of institutions have blogs written by current students (42 percent) and online chat rooms (32 percent).

How Colleges Notify Students of the Admission Decision


Email/Internet 30.2%

High school visits 10.9%

College fairs 15.4% Written sources 18.0%


SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Mailing letters is the standard practice for colleges and universities to notify students of admission decisions. Only one institution that responded to NACACs 2007 Admission Trends Survey reported not mailing letters. However, colleges do use other means, in addition to letters, to contact students about admission decisions. For the Fall 2007 admission cycle, 29 percent allowed applicants to check their admission status on the colleges

17

Correlation between yield and: percent inquiries from phone calls (.262), percent inquiries from high school visits (.174), p < .01

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Figure 10. Features of college admission Web sites: 2007


Financial aid information College cost information Detailed admission information Information about campus tours Online course catalog Online applications Online forms to request information by mail Downloadable applications submitted via mail Information for parents Online course registration School profiles Virtual tours Information for high school counselors Email newsletters Blogs by current students Online chat rooms Blogs by admission officers 99.2 98.4 97.9 96.3 96.3 96.3 95.8 88.8 77.2 71.1 70.2 63.3 57.6 43.6 41.6 32.1 18.1

20

40

60

80

100

Percentage of institutions with Web site feature


SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Web site, and 25 percent contacted students by email. Nearly half (45 percent) notified students by phone. Public colleges were much more likely than private colleges to allow prospective students to check their admission status on the Web site (51 percent versus 20 percent), and private institutions were more likely to notify students by phone (51 percent versus 30 percent). Larger colleges also were more likely to use the Web site for admission notification, while both smaller and less selective colleges were more likely to use phone calls. In contrast to the 2006 survey results, no relationship between yield and phone call notification was observed.18

Application Types and Deadlines


A large majority of colleges and universities use their own institution-specific applications, according to results of NACACs 2007 Admission
18

Trends Survey. However, about 40 percent of institutions also use the Common Application, either instead of or in addition to their own applications. The Common Application, founded in 1975, is a not-for-profit organization that provides both online and print applications that students can submit to any member institution. Common Application membership is open to all institutions who commit to evaluating students through a holistic admission process. As this publication went to print, there were 347 members of the Common Application.19 A smaller number of colleges (6 percent) reported that they will use the newer Universal College Application (UCA). The UCA was established in 2007 to make applying to college online more accessible and is available beginning with the Fall 2008 admission cycle. Any college that is accredited and agrees to uphold NACACs Statement of Principles of Good Practice is eligible to join the UCA consortium. The consortium had 77 member colleges as this report went to print.20 A small proportion of colleges also report using

Correlation between using Web site for admission notification and: enrollment (.377), p < .01; Correlation between using phone for admission notification and: enrollment (-.189), selectivity (-.302), p < .01 19 The Common Application Web site: http://www.commonapp.org. Information retrieved on August 18, 2008. 20 The Universal Common Application Web site: http://www.universalcollegeapp.com. Information retrieved on August 18, 2008.

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either state-wide or system-wide applications (seven percent and eight percent, respectively) (see Table 8). As expected, public colleges and universities are more likely than private institutions to use both state-wide and system-wide applications. Private institutions are three times more likely than publics to use the Common Application. More selective institutions also are more likely to use the Common Application (see Table 8).21

Over half (58 percent) of 2007 Admission Trends Survey respondents reported rolling admission deadlines, meaning they accept and evaluate applications for Fall admission on an ongoing basis. Only 14 percent of colleges and universities reported having early regular deadlines in either December or January. An additional 18 percent had deadlines in February or March. Ten percent reported having deadlines in other months, with a few in November and the remainder in April or later.

Table 8. Percentage of institutions using various types of admission applications: 2006


Common Application 41.6% 15.9 51.6 44.2 47.1 19.1 61.1 46.3 33.6 35.3 70.0 40.4 27.1 7.5 Universal College Application 6.0% 2.8 7.3 5.8 10.3 0.0 5.6 5.8 5.9 5.9 7.0 8.4 1.7 0.0 State-wide application 7.3% 15.9 4.0 4.5 17.6 6.4 5.6 6.6 9.2 8.8 3.0 9.6 11.9 5.0 System-wide application 8.1% 26.2 1.1 4.1 13.2 17.0 9.3 9.9 5.0 7.4 7.0 7.8 6.8 10.0 Institutionspecific application 80.9% 76.6 82.5 85.5 69.1 76.6 48.1 84.3 87.4 91.2 69.0 85.5 86.4 85.0

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

21

Correlation between use of the Common Application and: selectivity (.197), p < .01

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Cost of Applying to College


According to results of the College Boards 200708 annual survey, the vast majority of colleges had an application fee, which averaged $38. On average, larger institutions had slightly higher fees, as did more selective colleges and those with lower yield rates (see Table 9).22 Eighty-four percent of institutions that had fees waived them for students with financial need.23 Private colleges were somewhat more likely than public colleges to waive fees (87 percent versus 77 percent). (Similar patterns were found in results of NACACs Admission Trends Survey, with the exception of the relationship between yield rates and fee amounts.) NACACs 2007 Admission Trends Survey asked institutions to report fee amounts by type of applicationpaper, online and international. Eight percent of institutions did not have any application

fees. Average fee amounts by type of application for those institutions that had any fees were $38 for paper, $29 for online and $42 for international applications.

Gender Trends in College Applications


According to US Department of Education data, females, on average, comprised 57 percent of applicants to four-year colleges for Fall 2006 admission. They comprised 57 percent of accepted students and 55 percent of enrolled students.24 The average acceptance rates for male and female applicants were nearly identical (67.6 percent versus 67.9 percent). According to NACACs 2007 Admission Trends Survey results, colleges received an average of 57 percent of applications from women. Private colleges received a somewhat greater percentage of female applicants than public colleges (59 percent versus 54 percent).

Table 9. Percentage of institutions with application fees and fee waivers and mean application fee amounts by institutional characteristics: 2007
For those institutions that have application fees: Percentage of Mean Percentage of institutions institutions application fee allowing fee waiver for with application fee amount financial need 90.6% $38.00 83.7% 91.0 90.4 90.1 93.2 97.6 93.3 91.3 90.6 92.5 96.6 93.5 94.6 85.7 37.10 38.45 34.71 39.78 43.64 49.88 37.49 33.97 32.55 41.51 36.85 34.09 30.23 76.8 87.2 88.2 80.2 83.2 91.1 89.4 89.4 68.8 95.3 91.3 67.9 51.2

SOURCE: College Board annual survey, 2007-08 (includes four-year, not-for-profit institutions).

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

Correlation between application fee amount and: enrollment (.120), selectivity (.367), yield (-.265), p < .01 NACAC recommends that institutions of higher education consider waiving application fees for low-income students. The fee waiver guidelines are available on the NACAC Web site: www.nacacnet.org/MemberPortal/Products/forms.html. 24 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Peer Analysis System. (200506 and 200607). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
22 23

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Chapter 3. Admission Strategies

Contents
Definitions of Early Decision and Early Action Prevalence of Early Decision, Early Action and Wait Lists Early Decision in Depth Early Action in Depth Wait Lists in Depth Priority Applications

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Definitions of Early Decision and Early Action


In 2005, NACAC adopted a new set of provisions aimed at clarifying the admission options available to students. The association approved the use of the terms restrictive and non-restrictive to describe the effect of each type of policy on the choices that students may make in applying to and selecting a college. A summary of NACACs revised definitions is included on the next page.

Table 10. Percentage of institutions with Early Decision, Early Action and wait lists by institutional characteristics: 2007
Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent Early Decision 18.3% 4.8 23.5 21.0 19.1 4.3 55.6 17.5 12.8 3.0 Early Action 25.2% 23.3 25.9 23.1 33.3 23.9 22.2 37.1 27.4 7.7 Wait list 40.6 34.6 42.9 35.0 59.1 46.8 79.6 50.8 30.3 16.7

31.0 43.9 57.0 For purposes of this report, we continue to 18.2 18.6 41.7 6.8 17.5 32.2 categorize early application policies using 10.8 20.5 20.5 SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007. the Early Decision and Early Action terms, as variances on these two main forms of early application policies are too few for national data collection purposes. Early Decision (ED) is defined briefly as the application process in which students (eight percent) offered Early Action and 219 (nine percent) offered Early Decision.26 Among make a commitment to a first-choice institution respondents to NACACs 2007 Admission Trends where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll. Survey, 18 percent reported offering Early Decision Early Action (EA) is the application process in and 25 percent reported offering Early Action, which students make application to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance indicating that NACACs survey sample is somewhat over-representative of institutions offering these of the institutions regular response date. early application options (see Table 10).

Prevalence of Early Decision, Early Action and Wait Lists


According to NACACs 2005 Early College Application Directorywhich was compiled using information from colleges Web sites379 institutions offered one or both early application options for students (15 percent of all fouryear colleges). 25 Two hundred institutions
25 26

Survey results also indicate that both private colleges and more selective colleges are much more likely to offer Early Decision policies in comparison to their counterparts. Colleges with the lowest yield rates were more likely to offer both of these early application options in comparison to their higher yield counterparts (see Table 10).27

National Association for College Admission Counseling. (2005). Early College Application Directory. Alexandria, VA. These percentages add to greater than the total of 15 percent because they include 40 institutions (two percent) that offered both Early Decision and Early Action. 27 Correlation between offering Early Decision and: selectivity (.393), p< .01; yield (-.182), p < .01; Correlation between offering Early Action and: yield (-.147), p < .01

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The use of multiple admission plans by colleges and universities often results in confusion among students, parents and college admission counseling professionals. NACAC believes institutions must clearly state policies, and counselors are advised to assist students with their understanding of the various admission decision options. The following outlines agreed-upon definitions and conditions. Non-Restrictive Application Plans: These plans allow students to wait until May 1 to confirm enrollment. Regular Decision is the application process in which a student submits an application to an institution by a specified date and receives a decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time. A student may apply to other institutions without restriction. Rolling Admission is the application process in which an institution reviews applications as they are completed and renders admission decisions to students throughout the admission cycle. A student may apply to other institutions without restriction. Early Action (EA) is the application process in which students apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the institutions regular response date. Students admitted under Early Action are not obligated to accept the institutions offer of admission or to submit a deposit prior to May 1. Under nonrestrictive Early Action, a student may apply to other colleges. Restrictive Application Plans: These plans allow institutions to limit students from applying to other early plans. Early Decision (ED) is the application process in which students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll. While pursuing admission under an Early Decision plan, students may apply to other institutions, but may have only one Early Decision application pending at any time. Should a student who applies for financial aid not be offered an award that makes attendance possible, the student may decline the offer of admission and be released from the Early Decision commitment. The institution must notify the applicant of the decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time after the Early Decision deadline. Usually, a nonrefundable deposit must be made well in advance of May 1. The institution will respond to an application for financial aid at or near the time of an offer of admission. Institutions with Early Decision plans may restrict students from applying to other early plans. Institutions will clearly articulate their specific policies in their Early Decision agreement. Restrictive Early Action (REA) is the application process in which students apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the institutions regular response date. Institutions with Restrictive Early Action plans place restrictions on student applications to other early plans. Institutions will clearly articulate these restrictions in their Early Action policies and agreements with students. Students admitted under Restrictive Early Action are not obligated to accept the institutions offer of admission or to submit a deposit prior to May 1.28

28

National Association for College Admission Counseling. (October 2007, Revised). Statement of Principles of Good Practice. Available at: www.nacacnet.org/ MemberPortal/AboutNACAC/Policies.

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Nearly 41 percent of institutions reported using a wait list for the Fall 2007 admission cycle, up from 33 percent in 2006. Both institutions with higher selectivity and those with lower yield rates were more likely to have maintained a wait list (see Table 10).29

Early Decision in Depth


Compared to the previous two years, a smaller proportion of colleges reported increases in Early Decision applications. In 2007, just under half (49 percent) of institutions reported increased ED application volume compared to more than 60 percent in 2006. Only 36 percent reported increases in the number of students admitted through Early Decision, which is down from 47 percent in 2006 (see Table 11).30

Early Decision applicants represent only a small portion of the total applicant pool at colleges that have ED policies. Only six percent of all applications for Fall 2007 admission to ED colleges were received through Early Decision. As expected, colleges with Early Decision policies reported a slightly higher acceptance rate for their ED applicants as compared to all applicants (65 percent versus 53 percent). Given the binding nature of Early Decision policies, the average yield rate for Early Decision admits was more than 90 percent, substantially higher than the average yield rate for all students admitted to ED colleges (34 percent) (see Table 12).

Table 11. Percentage of colleges reporting change from the previous year in the number of Early Decision applications and the number of students admitted Early Decision: Fall 2000 to Fall 2007
Percentage of colleges reporting change in ED applications Increased Stayed the same Decreased Percentage of colleges reporting change in students admitted ED Increased Stayed the same Decreased 2000 58% 27 15 ---2001 58% 29 13 ---2002 53% 28 17 42 41 18 2003 43% 33 24 30 44 26 2004 37% 18 45 29 22 49 2005 58% 24 18 48 31 21 2006 63% 12 25 47 16 38 2007 49% 19 31 36 32 32

-- Data are not available.

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Surveys, 2000 through 2007.

Table 12. Key statistics for Early Decision colleges: Fall 2007
Mean percentage of all applications received at ED colleges through Early Decision Mean percentage of Early Decision applications accepted (ED selectivity rate) Mean overall selectivity rate for institutions with Early Decision Mean percentage of admitted ED students who enrolled (ED yield rate) Mean overall yield rate at ED colleges Mean 5.8% 65.4 53.4 91.7 33.8

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

29 30

Correlation between maintaining a wait list and: selectivity (.438), yield (-.223), p < .01 Results of the survey do not indicate the magnitude of these changes.

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Early Action in Depth

For the third year in a row, a large 2000 2001 majority of colleges reported Percentage of colleges reporting change in EA applications increases in Early Action application Increased 73% 65% Stayed the same 19 27 volume. As shown in Table 13, Decreased 8 8 Percentage of colleges reporting more than 80 percent of institutions change in students admitted EA Increased --Stayed the same --reported increases between the Fall Decreased --2006 and Fall 2007 admission cycles. -- Data are not available. SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Surveys, 2000 through 2007. In addition, more than 70 percent of institutions reported increases in the number of students admitted through Early Action.31 More than one-third of applications to colleges that had Early Action admission policies were received through Early Action (see Table 14). These colleges reported a slightly higher acceptance rate for EA applicants in comparison to the overall applicant pool (72 percent versus 65 percent). Unlike Early Decision, Early Action did not benefit institutions in terms of yield rates. In fact, for the Fall 2007 admission cycle, EA colleges reported a lower yield rate for their EA applicants compared to the overall applicant pool (28 percent versus 36 percent).

Table 13. Percentage of colleges reporting change from the previous year in the number of Early Action applications and the number of students admitted Early Action: Fall 2000 to Fall 2007
2002 72% 21 7 53 35 9 2003 68% 22 10 53 36 11 2004 56% 7 37 48 15 37 2005 80% 6 14 73 7 20 2006 70% 18 12 57 24 20 2007 81% 7 13 72 13 15

Table 14. Key statistics for Early Action colleges: Fall 2007
Mean percentage of all applications received at EA colleges through Early Action Mean percentage of Early Action applications accepted (EA selectivity rate) Mean overall selectivity rate for institutions with Early Action Mean percentage of admitted EA students who enrolled (EA yield rate) Mean overall yield rate at EA colleges Mean 36.4% 71.5 65.2 28.1 36.0

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Wait Lists in Depth

According to results of NACACs annual 2000 2001 2002 2003 Admission Trends Surveys, the percentage Increased 48% 40% 48% 52% Stayed the same 29 34 32 34 of institutions that used wait lists had Decreased 23 21 16 14 -- Data are not available. remained around one-third from 1996 SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Surveys, 2000 through 2007. to 2006. However, 41 percent of colleges reported using a wait list during the Fall 2007 admission cycle. More data are needed to determine if this is the beginning of an upward trend or a temporary escalation in wait list utilization. In addition, more than half of colleges reported increases in the number of students who were placed on wait lists between the Fall 2006 and Fall 2007 admission cycles (see Table 15).32

Table 15. Percentage of institutions reporting change from the previous year in the number of students placed on the wait list: Fall 2000 to Fall 2007
2004 ---2005 49% 25 26 2006 47% 26 27 2007 56% 23 21

31 32

Results of the survey do not indicate the magnitude of these changes. Results of the survey do not indicate the magnitude of these changes.

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Institutions reported placing an average of 10 percent of all applicants on the wait list for the Fall 2007 admission cycle, and an average of 59 percent of wait-listed students opted to remain on the wait list. Institutions accepted an average of 30 percent of all students who chose to remain on wait lists, which is relatively unchanged from Fall 2006. As expected, chances of being admitted off the wait list were lowest at the most selective collegeson average, only 14 percent of wait-listed students were ultimately admitted (see Table 16).33

Table 16. Mean percentage of students admitted off the wait list: Fall 2007
Mean percentage admitted 29.6% 37.7 27.0 30.1 33.1 20.3 13.5 29.2 45.8 53.6 25.3 26.9 45.2 48.8

Priority Applications
On NACACs Admission Trends Survey, a priority application is defined as an application process different from the traditional student-initiated applicationin which students are sent partially completed applications by mail or email. Only 57 of the survey respondents (16 percent) indicated using this type of application. Private colleges were more likely than public colleges to report the use of priority applications. Colleges with lower yield rates also were more likely to report using priority applications in comparison to their higher yield counterparts (see Table 17).34

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

Table 17. Mean percentage of institutions that used priority applications: Fall 2007
Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent Mean percentage 15.5% 5.8 19.3 18.0 15.2 4.4 0.0 19.3 18.3 17.2 28.9 13.7 8.6 2.8

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

33 34

Correlation between percent of students admitted off the wait list and: selectivity (-.458), p < .01 Correlation between using priority applications and: yield (-.196), p < .01

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Institutions also were asked about the criteria that were used to select students to receive priority applications. The most common criterion was contact with the admission office, followed by test scores and geographic region. Other criteria that were less common were high school attended, participation in a summer enrichment program and economic status (see Figure 11).

Finally, survey respondents were asked to indicate if particular application components were waived for priority applicants. The application fee was waived by 38 percent of institutions that used priority applications. The essay and letters of recommendation were each waived by seven percent of institutions. No institutions reported waiving transcript submission or submission of test scores.

Figure 11. Criteria used by colleges to select students to receive priority applications
Contact with admission office Test scores Criteria Geographic region High school attended Summer enrichment program Economic status 0
5.3 3.5 21.1 55.4 64.9 78.9

20

40

60

80

100

Percentage of institutions
SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

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Chapter 4. Factors in the Admission Decision

Contents
Factors in the Admission Decision: 2007 Summary Factors in the Admission Decision: Change Over Time Factors in the Admission Decision by Institutional Characteristics Key Factors In Depth Grades and Strength of Curriculum Standardized Admission Test Scores Class Rank Demonstrated Interest

Student Characteristics as Contextual Factors Why Colleges Revoke Offers of Admission

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Factors in the Admission Decision: 2007 Summary


Grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, admission test scores, and overall grades were the top four factors in the college admission decision. More than half of all colleges and universities rated each of these factors as considerably important. A second set of factors were each rated as considerably important by 20 to 25 percent of collegesessay or writing sample, class rank, students demonstrated interest in attending, counselor recommendation, and teacher recommendation. These factors provide additional information about students academic performance and interests, as well as their personal qualities.

Other factors that add depth to the admission application include the student interview, subject test scores, extracurricular activities, and work. Admission officers consider these factors as supplemental to the main academic factors, and as such, rated them with low to moderate importance. They can provide important information for comparing candidates with similar academic qualifications. Both SAT II scores and state graduation exam scores were among the lowest rated factors in admission decisions for 2007. Subject tests were primarily used in highly selective admission, though they are used more often for placement rather than admission decisions. Table 18 shows a complete overview of the relative importance of factors in the admission decision in 2007.

Table 18. Percentage of colleges attributing different levels of importance to factors in the admission decision: 2007
Factor Grades in college prep courses Strength of curriculum Admission test scores (SAT, ACT) Grades in all courses Essay or writing sample Class rank Students demonstrated interest Counselor recommendation Teacher recommendation Interview Subject test scores (AP, IB) Extracurricular activities SAT II scores State graduation exam scores Work Considerable importance 79.9% 63.8 58.5 51.6 25.8 23.4 22.0 21.1 20.8 10.8 6.8 6.5 6.2 4.4 1.9 Moderate importance 14.4% 23.9 30.9 40.1 37.9 43.8 30.3 40.4 40.0 23.7 32.2 45.7 13.8 13.7 24.2 Limited importance 2.9% 8.0 8.0 6.1 19.9 23.4 23.9 28.1 28.6 35.8 34.9 32.8 28.2 28.7 46.8 No importance 2.7% 4.3 2.7 2.1 16.4 9.4 23.9 10.4 10.5 29.8 26.2 15.1 51.8 53.3 27.2

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

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Factors in Admission: Change Over Time Table 19 illustrates how the importance of factors in the admission decision has changed over time, from 1993 to 2007. Academic performance in college prep courses has been consistently rated as the top factor in admission decisions over this 14year time frame. The importance of other factors, such as teacher and counselor recommendations, the student interview, and work/extracurricular activities has remained relatively unchanged.
Factors that have shown the most change are illustrated in Figure 12. The importance of admission test scores and grades in all courses increased from 1993 to 2003 and leveled off in more recent years. The percentage of colleges rating the essay as considerably important increased

throughout the time frame, while the proportion that rated class rank as considerably important decreased nearly 20 percentage points. NACAC has only measured the importance of demonstrated interest in the admission decision for the last five years, during which the proportion of colleges rating it as considerably important increased from seven percent to 22 percent.

Factors in Admission by Institutional Characteristics


The following section highlights differences among various types of institutions. Nearly all institutions attributed some level of importance to each of the factors discussed below, and the relative importance of factors did not differ widely. With few exceptions, colleges viewed four factorsgrades in college prep courses, strength of curriculum, admission

Table 19. Percentage of colleges attributing considerable importance to factors in the admission decision: 1993 to 2007
Grades in college prep/ 1 strength of curriculum Grades in college prep Strength of curriculum Admission test scores Grades in all courses Essay Class rank Counselor recommendation Demonstrated interest Teacher recommendation Interview Extracurricular 2 activities/work Extracurricular activities Work Subject tests (AP, IB) State exams SAT II scores 1993 82% --46 39 14 42 22 -21 12 6 -----1994 83% --43 37 17 40 20 -19 12 6 -----1995 80% --47 41 21 39 19 -18 15 7 -----1996 78% --48 38 20 36 17 -19 13 6 -----1997 81% --50 41 18 34 20 -19 11 6 -----1998 79% --51 44 19 32 16 -16 11 4 -----1999 84% --54 42 19 32 18 -14 9 5 -----2000 78% --58 43 20 34 16 -14 11 7 -----2001 80% --52 45 20 31 17 -16 11 6 -----2002 76% --57 50 19 35 16 -14 10 7 --6 6 -2003 78% --61 54 23 33 17 7 18 9 7 --7 7 -2004 80% --60 57 25 28 18 7 18 9 8 --5 6 -2005 74% --59 54 23 31 17 15 17 9 8 --7 7 -2006 -76 62 60 51 28 23 21 21 20 10 -8 3 8 6 5 2007 -80 64 59 52 26 23 21 22 21 11 -7 2 7 4 6

-- Data are not available.


1

Beginning with the 2006 survey, grades in college prep courses and strength of curriculum were listed as two separate factors. In previous years, one factor was listed as grades in college prep courses/strength of curriculum. Beginning with the 2006 survey, extracurricular activities and work were listed as two separate factors. In previous years, one factor was listed as work/extracurricular activities.

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Surveys, 1993 through 2007.

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Percentage of colleges

test scores, and overall grade point averageas the top four factors in the admission decision. However, the institutional characteristics determined, to some extent, the way each factor in the admission process was rated. For a complete comparison of institutions by selected characteristics, see Table 20.

Figure 12. Factors showing the most change in percentage of colleges rating as "considerably important": 1993 to 2007
70 60 50 40 30 20 10 Demonstrated Interest Essay Class rank Admission test scores Grades in all courses

Public and Private Institutions

Differences between public and 0 private institutions reveal that in many ways, private college admission is more holistic than SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007. public college admission. Private colleges considered a broader range Institutional Enrollment of factors in the admission decision, which is likely Some of the same differences existed between large due, in large part, to differences in application and small institutions as existed between public volume. Admission officers at public institutions were responsible for reading an average of 2.5 times and private institutions. Larger institutions also more applications for Fall 2007 admission than their had to process a higher volume of applications counterparts at private institutions (see Chapter 6). in relation to the size of their staffs, in many cases necessitating a more methodical process (see Chapter 6). Private colleges assigned greater importance than public colleges to many Smaller colleges attributed more factors other than the top four, including importance than larger colleges the essay/writing sample, the interview, to the interview, counselor and counselor and teacher recommendations, teacher recommendations, and work and extracurricular activities, and demonstrated interest.36 demonstrated interest.
1993 1996 1999 2002
1994 1995 1997 1998 2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006

Private colleges also ascribed slightly more importance to grades in all courses in comparison to their public counterparts. Public colleges were more likely to consider class rank to be considerably important, while private colleges most often rated it as moderately important.35
35

Institutional Selectivity Level


More selective institutions tended to place greater emphasis on many of the factors beyond the top four. Because applicants to the most selective institutions often have similarly high grades and test scores, these colleges need more information with which to evaluate each applicant. As a result,

36

Correlations between private college status and attribution of importance in admission: essay/writing sample (.317), interview (.476), counselor recommendation (.409), teacher recommendation (.421), work (.243), extracurricular activities (.311), demonstrated interest (.247), grades in all courses (.199), p < .01 Correlations between enrollment and attribution of importance in admission: interview (-.397), counselor recommendation (-.221), teacher recommendation (-.242), demonstrated interest (-.324), p < .01

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2007

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Table 20. Percentage of colleges attributing considerable importance to factors in the admission decision by institutional characteristics: 2007 (continued)
Grades in college prep courses 79.9% 77.1 81.0 76.8 88.1 87.0 88.5 82.6 81.2 74.2 89.9 87.1 77.6 43.6 Admission test scores 58.5% 67.9 54.8 54.2 70.1 66.0 48.1 60.3 61.0 56.1 44.4 67.5 57.6 51.3 Grades in all courses 51.6% 43.7 54.6 53.4 51.5 52.2 43.1 56.7 53.8 47.8 44.9 54.6 57.6 52.6 Essay/ writing sample 25.8% 11.8 31.1 28.7 18.2 24.4 45.1 26.7 21.6 15.2 33.7 22.2 22.4 23.7

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

Strength of curriculum 63.8% 59.2 65.6 61.2 69.7 73.9 86.5 66.4 64.1 47.0 79.8 70.4 53.4 23.7

Class rank 23.4% 34.0 19.3 18.6 30.3 34.8 28.8 21.7 24.3 18.2 18.2 28.4 19.0 18.4

Counselor rec. 21.1% 3.9 27.7 23.5 21.2 15.2 34.6 20.8 16.2 19.7 19.2 22.1 22.4 23.7

Teacher rec. 20.8% 2.9 27.6 24.3 15.4 15.2 37.3 21.7 15.7 15.2 18.4 20.5 22.4 27.0

Table 20 continued. Percentage of colleges attributing considerable importance to factors in the admission decision by institutional characteristics: 2007
State graduation exam scores 4.4% 5.1 4.1 3.8 1.6 4.7 3.9 6.1 3.4 3.0 5.2 4.4 5.2 0.0

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

Demonstrated interest 22.0% 15.7 24.4 27.3 12.3 13.0 15.4 20.0 24.8 21.5 19.2 15.4 27.6 44.7

Interview 10.8% 1.0 14.4 13.5 6.2 2.2 15.4 13.3 9.5 3.0 12.1 8.1 8.6 18.4

Extracurricular activities 6.5% 1.0 8.5 7.2 4.6 8.7 11.5 8.4 4.3 3.0 10.1 5.0 5.2 5.3

Subject test scores (AP, IB) 6.8% 7.0 6.7 5.9 9.4 6.8 11.8 5.9 4.3 7.6 5.1 7.5 8.6 2.7

SAT II scores 6.2% 8.1 5.6 5.9 6.2 6.8 13.7 6.7 4.3 3.0 3.1 4.4 13.8 10.5

Work 1.9% 0.0 2.6 2.5 0.0 2.2 1.9 2.5 1.7 0.0 3.0 0.0 3.4 2.7

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their admission process is more holistic, like that of private and smaller colleges. However, they still reviewed far more applications for the Fall 2007 admission cycle relative to their staff size in comparison to less selective institutions (see Chapter 6). More selective colleges attributed greater importance to strength of curriculum in comparison to their less selective counterparts. Institutions that accepted fewer applicants also placed more emphasis on many other factors outside of the top four. These factors included the essay, counselor and teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and work. The more selective institutions also placed more emphasis on subject test scores (AP and IB) and SAT II scores.37

of high-yield, non-selective colleges, which accept almost all of the students who apply and enroll large numbers as a result. Institutions with higher yield rates also attributed lower importance to some of the other factors, including the essay/writing sample, extracurricular activities and work. Nearly 45 percent of institutions with the highest yield rates attributed considerable importance to a students demonstrated interest in attending.38

Key Factors In-Depth Grades and Strength of Curriculum


As previously discussed, grades in college prep courses, strength of curriculum and grades in all coursesin that orderare among the top factors that colleges consider in making admission decisions (along with admission test scores, which ranks third). Although overall GPA serves as an indicator of a students academic success in high school, strength of curriculumand particularly grades in college prep coursesare better indicators of a students likelihood of succeeding in college.39 College prep courseswhich include Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), dual enrollment, and other advanced/college-level courseworkare designed to approximate collegelevel work. Therefore, participation in a college prep curriculum and performance in the courses can indicate to college admission officers both motivation and ability to succeed in postsecondary education. In fact, results of two major research studies show that students who complete a rigorous high school curriculum are much more likely to complete a bachelors degree than those who complete less rigorous curricula.40

Institutional Yield Rate


Institutions with high yield rates are those that enroll most of the students they accept. Although this is an important statistic from an institutional perspective, it is very difficult to generalize about institutions on the basis of yield rates. Very different types of colleges have similar yield rates. For instance, highly selective schools, such as those in the Ivy League, share similar yield rates with large, open-enrollment public colleges. Institutions with higher yield rates attributed less importance to grades in college prep courses and strength of curriculum than institutions with lower yield rates. The most likely cause of this finding is the behavior
37

Correlations between selectivity and attribution of importance in admission: strength of curriculum (.255), essay (.283), counselor recommendation (.240), teacher recommendation (.262), extracurricular activities (.299), work (.355), subject test scores (.231), SAT II scores (.285), p < .01 Correlations between yield and attribution of importance in admission: grades in college prep courses (-.407), strength of curriculum (-.420), essay (-.160), extracurricular activities (-.346), work (-.180), p < .01 39 Sixty-five percent of respondents to NACACs 2007 Counseling Trends Survey reported that they weight students high school GPAs to account for course difficulty. About half of the colleges that responded to NACACs 2005 Admission Trends Survey reported that they recalculate GPAs. 40 US General Accounting Office. (2003). College Completion: Additional Efforts Could Help Education with Its Completion Goals (GAO 03-568). Washington, DC.; Adelman, C. (2006). The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion From High School Through College. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.
38

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Unfortunately, students across the nation do not have equal access to college preparatory curricula. According to results of NACACs 2007 Counseling Trends Survey, there were important differences among types of schools in both college prep offerings and average enrollments in those curricula (see Table 21). For example, private high schools were more likely than public high schools to have offered AP and enriched curricula. Private high schools also reported higher enrollments, on average, in these curricula, as well as in IB courses. Public high schools were much more likely to offer dual enrollment, but no difference was found in the percentage of students enrolled.41 In addition, schools located in rural areas (populations fewer than 25,000) were less likely

than suburban and urban schools to offer AP, IB and enriched curricula, and a smaller proportion of students enrolled in both AP and enriched curricula. Larger schools were more likely than smaller schools to offer all four types of college prep curricula, but smaller schools had a greater proportion of students enrolled in both IB and dual enrollment courses (see Table 21).42 Schools with higher percentages of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch programs (FRPL) were less likely to offer AP and enriched curricula, and the average enrollment in these courses also was lower. However, there was a small positive association between the percentage of students eligible for FRPL and offering dual enrollment courses (see Table 21).43

Table 21. Percentage of schools that offer college preparatory curricula and mean percentage of 11th and 12th graders enrolled by school characteristics: 2007
Advanced Placement (AP) % of schools Mean % that offer enrolled 82.4% 25.8 20.9 48.5 54.4 36.4 19.0 27.3 39.2 28.3 24.5 23.8 26.3 24.4 30.6 17.9 14.8 17.1 30.7 28.9 24.0 21.8 23.8 24.2 International Baccalaureate (IB) % of schools Mean % that offer enrolled 4.6% 23.9% 4.7 4.3 3.6 6.1 1.6 7.5 8.4 1.4 4.2 4.5 7.5 13.6 5.3 3.8 1.7 4.2 3.2 3.4 5.5 6.6 3.4 4.3 20.3 42.9 64.1 15.6 21.2 23.1 26.3 52.0 31.4 12.3 19.9 16.5 22.6 26.0 11.7 10.0 39.3 32.9 17.2 21.8 26.2 9.7 Enriched curriculum % of schools Mean % that offer enrolled 85.6% 37.0% 84.6 90.4 88.6 94.5 79.5 92.6 91.2 73.4 90.2 93.7 95.2 93.5 88.5 81.2 82.9 78.5 76.7 86.4 86.0 88.2 88.6 80.9 32.0 60.9 65.9 50.1 31.9 38.1 49.6 38.8 37.8 35.7 37.0 32.3 42.7 29.3 26.7 20.3 42.8 39.2 35.3 32.5 36.0 39.2 Dual enrollment % of schools Mean % that offer enrolled 78.8% 12.7% 87.6 32.2 24.5 49.5 84.2 79.5 60.6 73.0 77.9 80.4 85.5 89.8 73.0 88.5 86.4 80.9 64.3 72.7 82.4 88.9 85.5 81.2 12.6 13.7 12.7 14.8 13.6 10.5 14.0 16.2 11.4 10.6 10.2 10.0 12.7 14.3 9.8 9.5 15.6 12.5 12.8 12.3 9.6 13.9

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public 81.1 Private 89.7 Private non-parochial 87.5 Private parochial 94.8 Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 71.7 25,000 to 249,999 96.2 250,000 or more 90.6 Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 63.1 500 to 999 88.1 1,000 to 1,499 96.9 1,500 to 1,999 99.1 2,000 or more 98.8 Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 87.7 26 to 50% 73.2 51 to 75% 72.5 76 to 100% 71.9 Student-to-counselor ratio 100:1 or fewer 67.9 101:1 to 200:1 82.1 201:1 to 300:1 84.5 301:1 to 400:1 89.0 401:1 to 500:1 88.2 More than 500:1 77.1

Correlation between private college status and mean percentage of students enrolled in college prep curricula: AP (.506), IB (.328), enriched curriculum (.441), p < .01 42 Correlation between enrollment and offering college prep curricula: AP (.329), IB (.179), enriched curriculum (.201), dual enrollment (.133), p < .01; Correlation between enrollment and mean percentage of students enrolled in college prep curricula: IB (-.310), dual enrollment (-.142), p < .01 43 Correlation between percent eligible for FRPL and offering college prep curricula: AP (-.180), enriched curriculum (-.105), dual enrollment (.196), p < .01; Correlation between percent eligible for FRPL and mean percentage of students enrolled in college prep curricula: AP (-.359), enriched curriculum (-.361), p < .01
41

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Results of the College Boards 200708 annual survey show the average number of high school course units (years of study) that colleges required and recommended for students interested in attending their institutions. On average, colleges required the most years of study in English (3.9), academic electives (3.3) and math (2.9). Institutions with higher selectivity levels required more foreign language credits and recommended more math, science and foreign language units than their less selective counterparts (see Table 22).44 These data do not indicate the level of coursework that colleges required or recommended, which also are likely to differ by institution type.

Table 23. Mean percentage of first-year students who submitted standardized test scores by institutional characteristics: 2007
SAT Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept less than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent 61.3% 61.9 61.0 58.8 68.8 66.3 80.1 68.3 55.0 46.2 78.2 62.5 48.1 44.0 ACT 51.4% 54.9 49.6 51.6 49.6 52.4 33.0 45.6 56.5 63.7 34.2 52.1 64.4 62.0

Standardized Admission Test Scores


As reported earlier in this chapter, standardized admission test scores ranked as the third most important factor in admission decisions. Eighty-nine percent of colleges placed considerable or moderate importance on this factor (see Table 18). According to the College Boards annual survey, an average of 61 percent of enrolled students submitted SAT scores for Fall 2007 admission, and 51 percent submitted ACT scores. Students enrolled in public colleges were slightly more likely than those enrolled in private colleges to have submitted ACT scores. Students enrolled in more selective institutions were more likely to have submitted SAT scores and less likely to have submitted ACT scores in comparison to those enrolled in less selective institutions (see Table 23).45

SOURCE: College Board annual survey, 2007-08 (includes four-year, not-for-profit institutions).

Class Rank
Secondary schools have different ways of recognizing students for their academic achievement. In response to NACACs 2007 Counseling Trends Survey, 81 percent of high schools indicated that they recognize

individual students with top numeric ranks, such as valedictorian and salutatorian. A little more than half (54 percent) indicated that they recognize a group of students based on percentile ranki.e. designating the top five or 10 percent as cum laude, honors, or some other form of distinction. Sixty-four percent recognized groups of students based on GPA cutoff pointsi.e. designating all students with an A or B average as cum laude, honors, or some other form of distinction (see Table 24). Public high schools were more likely than private high schools to have engaged in each of the three types of ranking. Schools with higher percentages of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch programs (FRPL) also were more likely to recognize students with both numeric and percentile ranks (see Table 24).46 Secondary schools also had different policies about reporting class rank information to college admission offices, and these policies varied more widely by institution type. As shown in Table 25, 68 percent of high school counseling departments reported

Correlation between selectivity and course units required: foreign language (.268), p < .01; Correlation between selectivity and course units recommended: foreign language (.357), math (.206), science (.202), p < .01 Correlation between institutional selectivity and percentage of enrolled students who submitted test scores: SAT (.314), ACT (-.279), p < .01 46 Correlation between percent eligible for FRPL and: recognize individual rank (.205), recognize percentile rank (.141), p < .01
44 45

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Table 22. Mean number of high school course units required and recommended by colleges: 2007 (continued)
Total academic units Req. Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent 16.0 16.2 15.8 15.8 16.3 16.2 16.9 16.2 15.8 15.5 16.0 16.0 16.3 16.0 Rec. 18.1 18.2 18.1 18.2 18.8 18.3 19.0 18.8 17.9 17.1 18.3 18.5 17.8 16.3 History Req. 1.6 1.5 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.3 1.8 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.8 Rec. 2.2 1.9 2.2 2.2 2.3 1.8 2.5 2.1 2.1 2.0 2.4 2.2 1.7 1.9 English Req. 3.9 4.0 3.9 3.9 4.0 4.0 3.9 4.0 4.0 3.9 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.8 Rec. 4.0 4.0 3.9 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.0 Foreign language Req. 2.1 2.0 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.0 2.3 2.1 2.0 1.9 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.1 Rec. 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.6 2.7 3.0 2.5 2.3 2.2 2.5 2.4 2.2 2.0

Table 22 continued. Mean number of high school course units required and recommended by colleges: 2007
Req. Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent 2.9 3.1 2.8 2.8 3.0 3.1 3.0 3.0 2.9 2.8 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0 Math Rec. 3.4 3.6 3.3 3.3 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.5 3.3 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.3 Academic elective Req. Rec. 3.3 3.1 3.5 3.6 3.2 2.8 3.7 3.2 3.1 3.4 3.0 3.6 3.2 3.4 3.3 2.9 3.4 3.4 3.2 2.3 2.9 3.4 3.1 3.3 2.9 3.0 3.5 3.1 Social studies Req. Rec. 2.3 2.4 2.2 2.2 2.4 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.4 2.2 2.1 2.5 2.3 2.2 2.7 2.9 2.6 2.6 3.0 3.1 2.8 2.6 2.7 2.8 3.0 2.8 2.7 2.8 Science Req. Rec. 2.4 2.6 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.3 2.3 2.6 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.2 2.9 3.0 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.2 3.0 2.8 3.0 3.1 3.0 2.7

SOURCE: College Board annual survey, 200708 (includes four-year, not-for-profit institutions).

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Table 24. Percentage of high schools that recognized students based on class rank: 2007
Recognized individual students with top numeric rank 81.1% 85.4 58.4 49.2 78.9 86.9 77.2 69.9 81.4 82.4 80.0 78.9 79.7 75.9 88.5 93.9 91.7 Recognized group of students based on percentile rank 53.5% 56.5 38.0 38.1 37.7 56.1 53.6 46.6 46.7 57.1 55.5 52.9 63.0 48.4 59.0 62.4 62.8 Recognized group of students based on GPA 63.5% 66.2 49.2 45.6 57.4 67.0 62.0 52.7 61.0 64.9 63.6 64.4 64.4 59.6 70.5 66.5 62.4

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people 25,000 to 249,999 250,000 or more Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100%

that they regularly provide the numeric rank for individual students. This practice was largely a function of the schools public/private status. More than three-fourths (78 percent) of public schools reported that they regularly provide this information. However, while 58 percent of private schools reported recognizing students based on top numeric ranks, only 11 percent indicated that they regularly provide individual rank information to colleges. Larger schools and schools with higher percentages of FRPL-eligible students also were somewhat more likely to report that they regularly provide this information (see Table 25).47 Only 31 percent of secondary schools reported that they regularly provide percentile rank for individual students. Public schools were more likely to report doing so in comparison to their private school counterparts, as were schools with higher percentages of FRPL-eligible students.48 Thirty-nine percent of schools indicated that they
47 48

regularly provide the general grade distribution for their graduating classes, which may be an alternative for many schools to providing individual student ranks. Private schools were more likely than public schools to report that they regularly provided these grade distributions (see Table 25).

Demonstrated Interest
For the past five years, NACACs Admission Trends Survey has documented colleges attention to applicants interest in attending their institutions as a factor in admission decisions. During those five years, colleges have reported placing a greater level of importance on demonstrated interest (see Table 19). In 2007, 76 percent of colleges assigned some level of importance to a students interest in attending the institution (22 percent considerable, 30 percent moderate and 24 percent limited) (see Table 18). As shown earlier in the chapter, both

Correlation between reporting individual rank and: enrollment (.102), percent eligible for FRPL (.339), p < .01 Correlation between reporting percentile rank and: percent eligible for FRPL (.188), p < .01

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Table 25. Secondary schools practices regarding the reporting of class rank information to colleges: 2007
Numeric rank for individual students Provided Regularly only if Did not provided asked provide 67.6% 11.8% 20.6% 78.4 10.9 4.0 26.1 77.6 65.0 41.7 62.2 67.1 69.5 76.5 73.9 59.4 81.5 77.7 70.8 12.5 7.9 7.5 8.7 11.8 10.9 13.7 14.2 10.8 9.6 9.1 12.2 8.8 14.8 18.4 25.0 9.1 81.2 88.5 65.2 10.7 24.1 44.6 23.6 22.1 20.9 14.3 13.9 31.8 3.8 3.9 4.2 Percentile rank for individual students Provided Regularly only if Did not provided asked provide 31.0% 38.5% 30.5% 34.7 11.3 9.6 15.0 33.4 31.1 24.7 28.1 30.0 31.4 31.0 42.1 26.0 36.3 34.5 40.0 40.1 30.4 24.9 42.5 41.2 37.4 31.9 39.7 40.7 36.0 36.7 35.0 36.5 40.2 50.0 45.3 25.2 58.3 65.5 42.5 25.4 31.4 43.4 32.2 29.2 32.6 32.3 22.9 37.5 23.5 15.5 14.7 General grade distribution for graduating class Provided Regularly only if Did not provided asked provide 39.2% 23.1% 37.8% 35.9 55.3 60.9 42.9 36.9 39.2 47.2 40.3 40.0 39.1 31.7 39.1 40.6 35.6 33.7 45.8 24.8 14.5 10.3 24.1 27.0 19.4 18.2 25.1 27.5 19.8 19.8 16.4 21.6 27.4 33.1 20.8 39.4 30.1 28.9 33.0 36.1 41.4 34.6 34.6 32.6 41.1 48.5 44.5 37.8 37.0 33.1 33.3

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people 25,000 to 249,999 250,000 or more Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100%

Table 26. Percentage of colleges attributing different levels of importance to the influence of student characteristics on the evaluation of factors in the admission decision: 2007
Considerable importance 8.0 5.9 4.6 4.3 2.9 2.9 2.1 Moderate importance 20.9 22.3 10.0 20.0 23.1 15.0 8.6 Limited importance 16.8 22.8 20.5 34.7 27.6 26.0 14.2 No importance 54.3 48.9 65.0 41.1 46.4 56.0 75.1

Student Characteristics as Contextual Factors

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Race/ethnicity First-generation status Gender Alumni relations High school attended State or county of residence Ability to pay

private colleges and smaller colleges placed greater emphasis on students demonstrated interest during the admission process (see Table 20). Likely methods that colleges and universities could use to ascertain a students interest include campus visits, interviews, content of open-ended essays, contact by students with the admission office, letters of recommendation, and early application through either Early Action or Early Decision.
49

NACACs 2007 Admission Trends Survey asked colleges for the second time to indicate how various student characteristics may influence how the main factors in admission are evaluated. These student characteristics included race/ethnicity, gender, firstgeneration status, state or county of residence, high school attended, alumni relations, and ability to pay.49 As shown in Table 26, institutions attributed relatively little importance to these student characteristics, even as contextual factors. However, they did have some influence on how the main admission factors were evaluated. About one-quarter of colleges rated race/ethnicity, firstgeneration status, high school attended, and alumni relations as at least moderately important.

In surveys prior to 2006, race/ethnicity, state or county of residence, alumni relations, and ability to pay were listed along with the other factors.

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Institutions varied in how they rated the influence of these student characteristics. For example, private colleges rated race/ethnicity, gender, high school attended, alumni relations, and ability to pay as having more influence in comparison to public colleges. Larger colleges attributed more influence than smaller colleges to first-generation status and state or county of residence. More selective institutions rated each of the student characteristics (except for ability to pay) as having more influence in comparison to less selective colleges.50

Why Colleges Revoke Offers of Admission


More than one-third of colleges (35 percent) reported that they had revoked an admission offer during the Fall 2007 admission cycle. Colleges

with higher selectivity levels were more likely to have revoked an admission decision.51 The most common reason for which admission offers were rescinded was final grades, followed by falsification of application information and disciplinary issues (see Figure 13). Public colleges were more likely than private colleges to have rescinded an offer of admission due to final grades (83 percent versus 59 percent), while private colleges were more likely to have done so due to a disciplinary issue (33 percent versus 13 percent). More selective colleges also were more likely to have revoked an offer of admission for disciplinary reasons.52 NACACs 2007 Admission Trends Survey also asked colleges to indicate the likelihood that various disciplinary issues would result in the retraction of an admission offer. Colleges indicated that violence,

Figure 13. Percentage of institutions who revoked offers of admission for various reasons: Fall 2007
Reason for revoking admission offer

Final grades

68.7

Falsification of application information

26.7

Disciplinary issue

25.0

Multiple deposits

2.3

0.0

10.0

20.0

30.0

40.0

50.0

60.0

70.0

80.0

Percentage of institutions
SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

50 Correlation between private college status and influence in evaluation of admission decision factors: race/ethnicity (.159), gender (.232), high school attended (.172), alumni relations (.306), ability to pay (.181), p < .01; Correlation between enrollment and influence in evaluation of admission decision factors: first-generation status (.210), state or county of residence (.199), p < .01; Correlation between selectivity and influence in evaluation of admission decision factors: race/ethnicity (.366), gender (.301), first-generation status (.399), state or county of residence (.245), high school attended (.249), alumni relations (.253), p < .01 51 Correlation between selectivity and: revoked admission offer (.176), p < .01 52 Correlation between selectivity and: revoked admission offer for disciplinary reasons (.262), p < .01

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cheating, drug-related offenses, and theft were the most likely to result in an admission offer being revoked. Both private colleges and smaller colleges rated all disciplinary issues as more likely to result in retraction of an admission offer in comparison to their public and larger counterparts. More selective colleges rated both violence and cheating as more likely to result in an admission offer being revoked, in comparison to less selective institutions (see Figure 14).53

Correlation between private college status and likelihood of disciplinary issue resulting in admission offer retraction: violence (.253), theft (.330), cheating (.229), truancy (.356), drug-related (.283), underage drinking (.304), Web posting (.316), p < .01; Correlation between enrollment and likelihood of disciplinary issue resulting in admission offer retraction: violence (-.192), theft (-.296), cheating (-.146), truancy (-.298), drug-related (-.324), underage drinking (-.307), Web posting (-.330), p < .01; Correlation between selectivity and likelihood of disciplinary issue resulting in admission offer retraction: violence (.155), cheating (.222), p < .01
53

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Chapter 5. School Counselors and College Counseling

Contents
College Counseling Defined Student-to-Counselor Ratios Counseling Department Priorities and Time on Task

Professional Development and Compensation Policies on Disclosure of Student Disciplinary Information to Colleges

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

College Counseling Defined

school level: 199596 to 200506 NACACs Statement on Precollege Guidance and Counseling and the Role of the School 700 Counselor defines precollege counseling 600 500 as generally including activities that help 400 students: 1) pursue the most challenging 300 200 curriculum that results in enhanced 100 postsecondary educational options; 0 2) identify and satisfy attendant requirements for college access; and 3) navigate the maze of financial aid, college choice and other processes Academic year related to college application and admission.54 Elementary Secondary Total Assisting students in reaching their full SOURCE: Common Core of Data Build a Table. (200506). US Department of Education, Washington, potential requires the cooperative efforts of DC: National Center for Education Statistics. school administrators, teachers, community average of 437 students. Moreover, these ratios representatives, government officials, parents, have changed very little over the past 10 years and the students themselves, as well as a trained (see Figure 15).55 A 2002 study focusing specifically staff of school counselors who are able to on high school counselors found a ratio of 315:1 facilitate student development and achievement. Of particular importance to student success is access for full-time counselors and 284:1 when part-time counselors were included.56 to a strong precollege guidance and counseling program that begins early in the students education. Results of NACACs 2007 Counseling Trends Counselors can be significant assets in the college Survey indicated a secondary school student-to admission process. Students face additional counselor ratio, including part-time staff, of 247:1, challenges without strong counselors to help on average. NACACs Counseling Trends Survey them, which can make the college application and also asked respondents to report the number of admission process more difficult. counselors at their schools based on the extent to which college counseling is part of their job Student-to-Counselor Ratios responsibilities, allowing for the calculation of a According to US Department of Education data, in student-to-college counselor ratio. For 2007, the 200506, each public school counselor (including average student-to-college counselor ratio was elementary and secondary) had responsibility for 311:1, including part-time counselors 474 students, on average. Counselors at secondary (see Table 27).57 schools had slightly smaller caseloads, serving an
Students per counselor 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Figure 15. Public school student-to-counselor ratios by

National Association for College Admission Counseling. (1990). Statement on Precollege Guidance and Counseling and the Role of the School Counselor. Available at: www.nacacnet.org/MemberPortal/AboutNACAC/Policies. In this case secondary is defined as grades 6 through 12. 56 Parsad, B., Alexander, D., Farris, E., and Hudson, L. (2003). High School Guidance Counseling (NCES 2003-015). U.S. Department of Education. Washington DC: National Center for Education Statistics. 57 The student-to-college counselor ratio is based on both the total number of counselors who exclusively provide college counseling for students and the total number who provide college counseling among other services for students. As such, it overestimates the focus on college counseling.
54 55

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Table 27. Mean student-to-counselor ratios and student-to-college counselor ratios by school characteristics: 2007
Mean number of students per counselor 247 260 177 175 181 238 267 239 190 259 271 291 334 242 265 237 209 Mean number of students per college counselor 311 321 254 251 261 275 334 375 220 328 337 340 515 305 307 330 332

Counseling Department Priorities and Time on Task Counseling Department Priorities


On NACACs 2007 Counseling Trends Survey, respondents were asked to rank order the importance of four main counseling department goals. As shown in Table 29, helping students with their academic achievement in high school was ranked as the highest priority of counseling departments, followed closely by helping students
Table 28. Public School Student-to-Counselor Ratios, by State: 200506
State U.S. Total Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Students 48,912,085 741,547 133,292 1,094,454 474,206 6,312,103 779,826 575,058 120,937 76,876 2,675,024 1,598,461 184,925 261,844 2,111,706 1,034,782 481,099 466,266 641,685 654,397 195,498 860,020 971,909 1,711,544 839,084 494,954 915,850 145,416 286,646 412,407 205,767 1,395,602 326,758 2,838,209 1,416,436 98,284 1,836,991 634,739 534,823 1,828,287 151,690 701,544 122,008 953,798 4,523,873 508,430 96,638 1,214,229 1,031,985 280,703 875,066 84,409 Counselors 103,268 1,814 277 1,373 1,441 6,998 1,424 1,399 282 101 5,584 3,536 672 594 3,172 1,804 1,169 1,135 1,456 2,955 633 2,300 2,141 2,726 1,034 1,023 2,635 439 777 794 826 2,312 774 6,865 3,646 275 3,840 1,586 1,324 4,404 2,541 1,775 319 2,023 10,251 686 431 2,669 2,011 693 1,930 399 Students per counselor 474 409 481 797 329 902 548 411 429 761 479 452 275 441 666 574 412 411 441 221 309 374 454 628 811 484 348 331 369 519 249 604 422 413 388 357 478 400 404 415 60 395 382 471 441 741 224 455 513 405 453 212

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people 25,000 to 249,999 250,000 or more Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more students Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100%

Variation in Student-to-Counselor Ratios Student-to-counselor ratios varied widely from state to state. In 200506, some states had exceedingly high student-to-counselor ratios including California (902:1), Minnesota (811:1), Arizona (797:1), DC (761:1) and Utah (741:1). See Table 28 for the public school student-tocounselor ratios for all states. Public schools also had higher student-to-counselor ratios and slightly higher student-to-college counselor ratios in comparison to private schools.58 As shown in Table 27, public school counselors were responsible for about 80 more students, on average. In addition, more than three-quarters of private schools (76 percent) reported that they had at least one counselor (full- or parttime) whose sole responsibility was to provide college counseling for students, compared to 37 percent of public schools. High schools with large enrollments also had significantly higher counseling caseloads than smaller schools.59

SOURCE: Common Core of Data Build a Table. (200506). US Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

58 59

Correlation between public school status and: student-to-counselor ratio (.207), p < .01 Correlation between enrollment and: student-to-counselor ratio (.356), student-to-college counselor ratio (.358), p < .01

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Table 29. Mean ranking of counseling department responsibilities by school characteristics: 2007 (1 to 4 scale)
Help students plan Help students with Help students plan and prepare for their academic Help students with and prepare for their postsecondary achievement in personal growth and work roles after education high school development high school 3.0 3.2 2.2 1.6 2.9 3.6 3.6 3.5 2.9 3.0 3.3 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.9 2.9 3.1 2.8 2.9 2.6 3.1 3.1 3.0 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.3 2.8 2.8 3.1 3.2 3.4 3.2 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.2 3.3 3.3 3.2 3.0 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.3 3.2 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.3 2.2 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.3 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.1 1.6 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.7 1.5 1.3 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.5

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people 25,000 to 249,999 250,000 or more Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100% Student-to-counselor ratio 100:1 or fewer 101:1 to 200:1 201:1 to 300:1 301:1 to 400:1 401:1 to 500:1 More than 500:1

the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch (FRPL)ranked helping students to plan and prepare for postsecondary education significantly lower and helping students plan and prepare for their work roles after high school significantly higher (see Table 29).61

Time on Task

Free and reduced price lunch

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

plan and prepare for postsecondary education. Helping students with personal growth and development and helping students plan and prepare for their work roles after high school were ranked third and fourth. High schools differed in how they ranked the priorities of their counseling departments. For example, public schools ranked helping students with their academic achievement in high school as the top priority while private schools ranked helping students plan and prepare for postsecondary education as most important. Public schools also ranked helping students plan and prepare for their work roles after high school more highly than their private school counterparts.60 In comparison to higher income schools, lower-income schoolsas defined by

Most counselors have a variety of job responsibilities in addition to college counseling. Results of 1.4 NACACs survey showed that in 1.7 1.7 2007, high school counseling staffs 1.9 spent an average of only 29 percent 1.6 1.5 of their time on college counseling. 1.5 Counselors in public schools reported 1.6 1.6 spending only 23 percent of their 1.7 time on postsecondary counseling, while private school counselors were able to spend more than half of their time (58 percent) providing college counseling.62 Counselors at higher-income schools also spend more time on postsecondary counseling compared to those at lower-income schools (see Table 30).63

Counselor Activities Related to College Counseling


Counselors engage in a variety of activities to assist students with the process of applying to college. As shown in Figure 16, the most frequent activities for 2007 included having individual meetings with students and hosting college representatives. More than 40 percent of counselors also reported that they frequently engaged in actively representing students to college admission offices and reviewing student applications.

Correlation between public school status and ranking of: helping students plan and prepare for postsecondary education (-.297), helping students with their academic achievement in high school (.192), helping students plan and prepare for their work roles after high school (.171), p < .01 Correlation between percent eligible for FRPL and ranking of: helping students plan and prepare for postsecondary education (-.210), helping students plan and prepare for their work roles after high school (.176), p < .01 62 Correlation between private school status and: percent of time spent on postsecondary counseling (.681), p < .01 63 Correlation between percent eligible for FRPL and: percent of time spent on postsecondary counseling (-.353), p < .01
60 61

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Table 30. Mean percentage of time that counseling staffs spent on various tasks by school characteristics: 2007
Postsecondary admission counseling 28.7% 23.1 57.5 62.0 47.6 24.4 28.7 41.6 31.3 30.4 26.2 24.5 23.0 33.0 21.1 21.9 21.7 35.0 32.3 27.1 23.5 23.0 27.7 Choice and scheduling of Personal high school needs courses counseling 23.7% 19.7% 25.9 12.6 11.4 15.4 22.9 26.4 21.4 19.1 22.8 26.1 29.6 32.0 22.7 25.3 24.6 23.7 18.4 21.7 24.4 26.9 28.0 26.1 21.4 11.5 8.4 18.2 20.9 20.0 15.7 18.3 20.0 21.3 21.7 20.9 19.2 21.3 19.6 21.3 17.1 18.9 22.0 20.5 19.5 17.8 Occupational counseling and job placement 7.3% 8.3 2.5 2.0 3.5 8.4 6.7 5.3 7.5 7.2 7.3 7.1 7.3 6.5 8.3 9.6 9.5 7.4 7.4 7.3 7.6 6.7 7.2 Other nonguidance activities 6.0% 6.0 5.7 6.1 4.9 6.8 5.0 4.8 7.5 5.4 4.9 4.7 4.8 5.6 7.1 6.4 6.6 8.1 5.3 5.7 5.6 7.1 5.6

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people 25,000 to 249,999 250,000 or more Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100% Student-to-counselor ratio 100:1 or fewer 101:1 to 200:1 201:1 to 300:1 301:1 to 400:1 401:1 to 500:1 More than 500:1

Academic testing 14.6% 15.5 10.3 10.1 11.0 16.6 13.2 11.2 16.3 14.3 14.2 12.4 12.0 12.9 16.9 17.9 17.2 14.2 14.3 13.6 15.8 15.7 15.7

public schools in having meetings with parents, providing advice to students and families on standardized testing, reviewing applications, and actively representing students to college admission offices. 64 Counselors at lower-income schools engaged less frequently in each of these four activities. However, counselors at lower-income schools provided counseling on financial aid options and organized tours of college campuses more frequently than those at higher-income schools.65

Access to Technology for College Search

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Figure 16. How frequently counselors engaged in activities related to postsecondary admission counseling: 2007
Actively represent students to college admission officers Work with school leadership to develop curricula aligned with college requirements Host college representatives Organize tours of college campuses Electronic communication with students or parents about postsecondary admission Reviewing/proofing student applications for postsecondary admission Advice and education for students and families on standardized testing Postsecondary financial aid/scholarship counseling for students Meetings with parents to discuss students' postsecondary options Individual meetings with students to discuss postsecondary options Group guidance/counseling sessions with students about postsecondary education 0%
32 24 29 30 79 49 7 22 26 43 48 51 50

41 32 71 37 36 34

36 23

19

According to results of NACACs 2007 Counseling Trends Survey, 43 percent of high schools had a computer station or computer resource center exclusively designated for college searches for students. Larger schools were more likely to have had this service.66

23

28 33 21 26 19 19 19 16 2

Frequently Occasionally Infrequently Never

Professional Development and Compensation Professional Development on College Counseling


In 2007, 37 percent of high schools reported that counselors responsible for college counseling were required to participate in professional development related to postsecondary counseling. Forty-nine percent of private high schools had this requirement compared to 34 percent of public high schools. Private high schools also were more than twice as likely as public high schools to cover all of the costs of this professional development (70 percent versus 33 percent). Also more likely to cover all professional development costs were smaller schools and those with fewer low-income students (see Table 31).67

50% Percentage of respondents

100%

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007

There are variations in the extent to which students at different types of schools benefit from these services. For example, counselors at private schools engaged more frequently than those at
64

Correlation between private school status and frequency of: parent meetings (.242), testing advice (.268), reviewing applications (.220), actively representing students (.265), p < .01 65 Correlation between percent eligible for FRPL and frequency of: parent meetings (-.286), testing advice (-.214), reviewing applications (-.135), actively representing students (-.148), financial aid counseling (.205), organizing college tours (.277), p < .01 66 Correlation between enrollment size and: computer station for college search (.219), p < .01 67 Correlation between level of professional development cost coverage and: percent eligible for FRPL (-.162), enrollment (-.112), p < .01

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Table 31. Percentage of secondary schools that require college counselors to participate in professional development and that cover professional development costs: 2007
Percentage of schools that require professional development 36.6% 34.2 49.2 49.0 49.5 33.8 34.4 49.1 36.8 39.0 32.1 33.6 37.2 37.5 31.8 38.6 46.3 44.2 42.9 35.7 28.2 22.6 30.0 Percentage of schools that cover professional development costs All costs Some costs No costs 39.2% 47.5% 13.2% 33.3 70.3 78.5 51.9 39.4 33.8 48.4 46.5 41.6 32.9 29.1 26.3 44.9 28.2 33.5 29.8 46.0 46.1 34.5 32.1 30.8 40.0 51.5 26.6 19.9 41.7 47.6 52.2 39.1 42.8 45.6 49.4 57.0 59.6 44.9 54.1 49.7 53.2 42.3 41.9 54.5 50.5 54.1 45.7 15.2 3.1 1.6 6.5 12.9 14.0 12.5 10.8 12.8 17.7 13.9 14.2 10.2 17.8 16.8 17.0 11.7 12.0 10.9 17.5 15.1 14.3

Compensation
According to the Educational Resource Service, the mean public school counselor salary has increased steadily over the past 13 years. In the 200607 school year, the mean salary for a public school counselor was $55,930, up from $41,355 in 199394 (see Figure 17).68

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people 25,000 to 249,999 250,000 or more Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100% Student-to-counselor ratio 100:1 or fewer 101:1 to 200:1 201:1 to 300:1 301:1 to 400:1 401:1 to 500:1 More than 500:1

Policies on Disclosure of Student Disciplinary Information to Colleges


NACACs Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) includes a best practice for counseling members to establish written policies on the disclosure of disciplinary information to colleges.69 However, results of NACACs 2007 Counseling Trends survey indicate that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of secondary schools do not have written disclosure policies. Irrespective of having a written policy, counselors also were asked to report on their schools general practices related to disclosure of disciplinary information during the college application process. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of counseling offices responded that their schools disclose student disciplinary information, and an additional 39 percent reported that their schools disclose in some cases (see Table 32). Private schools were more than twice as likely as public schools to both have a written policy on disclosure (49 percent versus 21 percent) and to report that they disclosed student disciplinary information (44 percent versus 19 percent).

Figure 17. Mean public school counselor salary: 199394 to 200607


60,000 55,000 Salary (in dollars) 50,000 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

SOURCE: Educational Resource Service. (2007). Salaries and Wages Paid Professional and Support Personnel in Public Schools, 200607. Arlington, VA.

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Educational Resource Service. (2007). Salaries and Wages Paid Professional and Support Personnel in Public Schools, 200607. Arlington, VA. National Association for College Admission Counseling. (October 2007, Revised). Statement of Principles of Good Practice. Available at: www.nacacnet.org/ MemberPortal/AboutNACAC/Policies.

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Differences also were observed by other school characteristics, including enrollment size, percentage of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch (FRPL) and student-to-counselor ratios. Interestingly, no differences were observed by enrollment size in whether a school had a policy, but larger schools were found to be more likely to disclose information (see Table 32).

Results of the survey also indicated that schools that had written policies about the disclosure of student disciplinary information were more likely to report that they allowed disclosure compared to those schools that did not maintain written policies (31 percent versus 20 percent). School leaders may be more comfortable allowing disclosure of information when a policy is in place to protect against any challenges from students or parents.

Table 32. Percentage of secondary schools that have written policies on the disclosure of student disciplinary information and percentage that allow disclosure, by selected school characteristics: 2007
Percentage of schools that have written policies on disclosure 25.9% 21.4 48.6 55.5 32.7 19.7 27.9 40.7 26.4 24.0 26.2 22.5 29.6 28.0 22.4 20.7 17.4 32.3 28.8 24.7 22.2 13.7 28.8 Percentage of schools that allow disclosure In some Yes cases No 23.1% 38.8% 38.0% 18.7 44.0 48.4 34.0 16.3 28.2 34.4 18.7 24.7 22.8 28.4 30.8 29.0 14.6 15.6 14.6 21.0 25.2 20.3 24.9 24.4 23.5 38.2 41.8 42.3 40.6 36.4 41.6 42.2 38.1 36.9 42.0 37.3 40.1 39.0 37.3 35.3 35.4 40.1 39.6 39.8 36.0 37.5 30.9 43.0 14.2 9.3 25.5 47.2 30.2 23.5 43.2 38.4 35.2 34.3 29.1 32.0 48.1 49.1 50.0 39.0 35.3 39.8 39.1 38.1 45.6

SOURCE: NACAC Counseling Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Private non-parochial Private parochial Population of city/town Fewer than 25,000 people (rural) 25,000 to 249,999 (suburban) 250,000 or more (urban) Enrollment Fewer than 500 students 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,499 1,500 to 1,999 2,000 or more Free and reduced price lunch 0 to 25% of students eligible 26 to 50% 51 to 75% 76 to 100% Student-to-counselor ratio 100:1 or fewer 101:1 to 200:1 201:1 to 300:1 301:1 to 400:1 401:1 to 500:1 More than 500:1

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Chapter 6. The College Admission Office

Contents
Admission Office Staff Budget and Cost to Recruit

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING

Admission Office Staff


The admission office staff typically includes a dean or vice president for admission or enrollment management, middle-level managers or assistant directors, admission officers, and administrative support staff.

Table 33. Mean ratio of applications to admission officers by institutional characteristics: 2007
Applications per admission officer 423 756 299 249 686 962 668 473 370 252 503 409 452 270

Ratio of Applications to Admission Officers


As shown in Chapter 2, colleges continued to report increases in the number of applications they received, due to increases in both the number of high school graduates and the number of applications each student submits. These factors result in very high application loads for admission officers. For the Fall 2007 admission cycle, colleges reported that the average admission officer was responsible for reading 423 applications (see Table 33). The burden of large application volume was particularly prevalent at certain types of institutions. For example, admission officers at public institutions were responsible for reading more than 2.5 times more applications than their counterparts at private institutions. Admission officers at larger colleges and those at more selective institutions also had to contend with higher application volumes (see Table 33).70

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 71 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

Compensation
Table 34 shows the median salaries for various admission positions according to results of an

annual salary survey conducted by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). Salaries for all positions vary according to the institutional budget, but they vary most widely for higher-level positions. For example, an admission counselor earned $33,139, on average, in 200708, and this salary varied only slightly by the institutional budget quartile. The median salary for a chief admission officer was $78,978, and this salary ranged from $60,436 at institutions in the lowest budget quartile to $104,962 at institutions in the highest budget quartile. Chief enrollment managers earned the highest median salary in 200708 at $106,332.

70

Correlation between application-to-admission officer ratio and: public college status (.525), enrollment (.644), selectivity (.340), p < .01

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Table 34. Median salary of admission staff by institutional budget quartiles: 200708
Median salary $33,139 53,150 69,431 91,776 78,978 106,332 Median salary by institutional budget Lowest Second Third Highest quartile quartile quartile quartile $30,480 $32,397 $34,201 $35,802 42,000 47,117 55,356 62,795 55,084 70,293 74,980 91,257 59,450 84,400 109,974 105,184 60,436 69,921 85,970 104,962 82,968 103,000 112,200 138,122

SOURCE: College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. (200708). Mid-Level Administrative and Professional Salary Survey and Administrative Compensation Survey.

Admission Counselor Associate Director, Admission Director, Admission and Registrar Director, Admission and Financial Aid Chief Admission Officer Chief Enrollment Management Officer

Professional Qualifications for Chief Enrollment Officers

The job of a college admission officer involves attracting students to apply to the institution, evaluating applications and attempting to enroll students who have received offers of admission. The admission process, though different at each school, has attained a level of standardization that enables admission officers to move between institutions and apply similar practices. Figure 18 shows how colleges rated the importance of various skills to the position of Figure 18. Institutional ratings of the importance of various chief enrollment officer in 2007. qualifications for the position of chief enrollment officer: 2007 Previous admission experience was rated as the most important Technology/Web design 13% 42% 32% qualification. The second most Previous admission experience 69% 18% 9% important qualifications were Business management 43% 44% 10% marketing/public relations and Writing 46% 42% 10% statistics/data analysis, followed Advanced degree 51% 26% 16% closely by personnel/resource Statistics/data analysis 56% 31% 9% management, higher education Personnel/resource management 53% 32% 13% administration and holding an 51% 34% 11% Higher education administration advanced degree.
Marketing/public relations
56% 0% 20% 40% 60% 34% 80% 7%

noteworthy variations by institutional characteristics. For example, institutions with lower yield placed greater importance on previous admission experience and higher education administration and somewhat more importance on personnel/resource management and statistics/data analysis in comparison to higher yield institutions. Both public and larger institutions also considered having an advanced degree to be more important than their private and smaller counterparts.71

Different types of institutions rated most of the chief enrollment officer skills in very similar ways. However, there were some

100%

Percentage of institutions
Very important
SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Important

Somewhat important

Not important

71 Correlation between yield rate and importance of chief enrollment officer skills: previous admission experience (-.270), higher education administration (-.211), personnel/resource management (-.143), statistics/data analysis (-.167), p < .01; Correlation between public college status and importance of chief enrollment officer skills: advanced degree (.226), p < .01; Correlation between enrollment and importance of chief enrollment officer skills: advanced degree (.239), p < .01

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Budget and Cost to Recruit


Admission office budgets include funds to cover expenses such as staff salaries and benefits, publications and mailings to prospective and admitted students, staff travel for recruitment and yield-related purposes, application printing and processing, Web site maintenance and enhancements, and other activities conducted by the admission department or third-party contractors. Data collected on NACACs annual Admission Trends Survey indicate that admission office budgets have rebounded in the last several years, after a period of stagnation. In 2007, a vast majority of institutions reported that their admission office budgets had either increased or stayed the same. The percentage of institutions reporting decreases has declined substantially since 2003 (see Figure 19).

The survey also asked institutions to report the total number of applicants, accepted students, and enrolled students, allowing for the calculation of cost to recruit figures.72 In an effort to measure cost to recruit as accurately as possible, the survey also asked institutions to report what categories of expenses were included in the total admission budgets they provided. The percentage of institutions that included each of the expense categories were as follows: admission staff salaries (71 percent) admission staff benefits (52 percent) staff travel expenses for recruitment/yield (99 percent) expenses for participation in college fairs and other recruitment/yield events (99 percent) publication expenses (88 percent) payments made to third party contractors for admission or recruitment/yield services (90 percent)

Cost to Recruit
As in 2006, NACACs 2007 Admission Trends Survey asked institutions to report their total fiscal budget for the Fall 2007 admission cycle.

Figure 19. Percentage of institutions reporting change from the previous year in the admission office budget: 2000 to 2007
60
54

Percentage of institutions

50 40 30 20 10
5 41

48 42 42 36 41 36

46 37

47 42

48 43

49 39

Increased Decreased Stayed the same

22

23 18

10

11

11

0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Surveys, 2000 through 2007.

72

Each cost to recruit figure is obtained by dividing the total admission budget by the respective pool of students (applicants, admitted students and enrolled students).

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Table 35. Mean cost to recruit per applicant, admitted student and enrolled student: 2007
Respondents who excluded staff salaries and benefits from the total admission budget Mean cost Mean cost Mean cost per admitted per enrolled per applicant student student $309.51 $450.35 $1,207.35 123.80 325.80 334.97 125.60 -189.24 235.89 414.14 304.72 241.69 313.86 292.41 635.76 153.47 482.73 485.75 240.65 -640.37 312.59 531.63 409.56 365.82 476.45 457.80 739.22 343.12 1,298.32 1,292.75 906.70 -1,643.51 1,052.22 1,285.19 1,115.55 1,298.22 1,320.46 834.40 1,128.49 Respondents who included all expense categories in the total admission budget Mean cost Mean cost Mean cost per admitted per enrolled per applicant student student $578.08 $836.49 $2,366.08 342.54 668.23 710.79 365.68 293.27 422.01 555.45 611.64 642.03 559.13 566.12 503.41 830.31 470.21 976.67 1,042.88 512.47 389.79 1,072.23 875.30 769.29 774.06 836.70 813.55 834.43 955.80 1,002.02 2,894.65 2,963.46 1,743.22 841.30 3,384.62 2,451.30 2,138.28 2,053.44 3,030.48 2,303.32 1,756.79 1,535.16

-- Mean could not be provided, as cell included only one institution.

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 70 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Rate Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

NOTE: Figures in italics should be interpreted with caution due to low sample size (fewer than 15 institutions per cell). SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2007.

Table 35 shows 2007 cost to recruit figures for two sets of respondents: 1) those who included all expense categories except for staff salaries and benefits in their total admission budgets; and 2) respondents who included all of the expense categories, including staff salaries and benefits in their total admission budgets.73 For the 2007 admission cycle, an average college admission office spent $310 in recruitment and office costs for each student who applied, $450 for each student who was admitted and $1,207 for each student who enrolled. When staff salaries and benefits were included, the average cost to recruit figures were $578 per applicant, $836 per accepted student and $2,366 per enrolled student (see Table 35).

As shown in Table 35, costs to recruit varied widely among different types of institutions. The following examples refer to cost to recruit figures which included staff salaries and expenses. Private colleges spent twice as much as public colleges to recruit both applicants and admitted students, and nearly three times as much to recruit enrolled students for Fall 2007. Costs to recruit were about 2.5 to 3.5 times higher at the smallest institutions compared to the largest.74 More selective colleges spent less to recruit applicants, but more to admit and enroll students in comparison to their less selective counterparts. This pattern likely

73 Eighteen percent of respondents reported data that allowed the calculation of a cost to recruit figure that included all categories except for staff salaries and benefits. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported data that allowed the calculation of a full budget cost to recruit figure. All cost to recruit figures were then trimmed five percent due to extreme outliers. 74 Correlation between enrollment and cost to recruit (full budget): applicant (-.476), admitted student (-.517), enrolled student (-.552), p < .01

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reflects an environment where institutional reputation delivers many applications, but where a great deal of effort is spent selecting among academically similar applicants and enrolling chosen candidates.75 Institutions with lower yield rates spent more to recruit their enrolled students in comparison to their higher yield counterparts. This pattern likely reflects the focused approach that institutions with low yield rates must take to increase the chances that admitted students will enroll.76

Table 36 shows corrected data from NACACs 2006 Admission Trends Survey.77 The magnitude of the average cost to recruit figures across all fouryear institutions is similar to 2007. Patterns of variation among different types of institutions also were similar, with a few exceptions. In 2006, no differences were found by selectivity in costs to recruit admitted and enrolled students. Data from the 2006 survey also showed that institutions with lower yield rates spent less to recruit applicants and admitted students in comparison to their higher yield counterparts, whereas no differences were found in 2007.

Table 36. Mean cost to recruit per applicant, admitted student and enrolled student: 2006
Respondents who excluded staff salaries and benefits from the total admission budget Mean cost Mean cost Mean cost per admitted per enrolled per applicant student student $305.38 $465.41 $1,287.68 86.50 360.10 374.13 113.36 128.38 254.53 253.05 351.63 332.37 266.32 315.41 257.01 517.57 164.79 540.56 557.42 242.13 159.89 573.87 369.57 499.95 440.07 474.72 445.45 379.05 737.53 367.04 1,492.27 1,510.73 776.34 373.74 1,906.96 1,055.16 1,315.63 921.94 1,529.35 1,290.90 837.04 1,081.36 Respondents who included all expense categories in the total admission budget Mean cost Mean cost Mean cost per admitted per enrolled per applicant student student $614.20 $879.67 $2,349.61 324.12 720.42 770.81 288.40 189.81 304.62 595.43 696.81 713.24 564.19 626.20 438.26 1,145.58 463.24 1,034.35 1,072.18 508.00 273.75 780.84 887.81 965.21 793.51 748.68 952.76 670.55 1,293.18 1,082.50 2,802.16 2,862.14 1,533.17 657.69 2,263.29 2,669.77 2,492.19 1,791.34 2,752.79 2,690.82 1,287.04 1,714.12

NOTE: Figures in italics should be interpreted with caution due to low sample size (fewer than 15 institutions per cell). SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2006.

Total Control Public Private Enrollment Fewer than 3,000 students 3,000 to 9,999 10,000 or more Selectivity Accept fewer than 50 percent of applicants 50 to 70 percent 70 to 85 percent More than 85 percent Yield Rate Enroll fewer than 30 percent of admitted students 30 to 45 percent 46 to 60 percent More than 60 percent

Correlation between selectivity and cost to recruit (full budget): applicant (-.221), admitted student (.202), p < .05; enrolled student (.281), p < .01 Correlation between yield and cost to recruit (full budget): enrolled student (-.348), p < .01 77 Figures published in the 2006 State of College Admission report for respondents who included all expense categories expect for staff salaries and benefits have been corrected. The 2006 figures were inflated due to an error in categorizing institutions according to expense categories included in the budget.
75 76

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