2019 Trends in College Admissions

We've had time to analyze the admissions decisions for the class of 2019, and we noticed that some trends have emerged. In this video, we'll share those trends and how the Class of 2020 can apply these learnings to their applications:

1. Unpredictability. Unpredictability was the key word this season. It's become more and more difficult to look at charts or stats and determine who will be accepted or denied. In a journey filled with unknowns, how can you maintain some sense of control? The best way to address this trend is by focusing most of a student's efforts on the balance of colleges on their list, rather than that one reach school.

2. Flagship universities. We saw this year that big flagship universities continue to rise in popularity among students. This increases the selectivity of schools like UT, Georgia, UVA, UCLA, and Michigan. These schools have become especially more competitive for students, particularly those who want to study computer science, engineering and business.

3. Timing. As always, being early continues to matter. In Texas—for both UT and A&M—we noticed that submitting an application by Labor Day increases the chances of clinching that first-choice major. We also saw a new trend in highly selective schools, with more colleges offering an Early Decision 2 option. This requires students to think strategically about their ED game plan.

4. Demonstrated interest. Admissions committees' focus on demonstrated interest isn't losing  steam. When students visit colleges, they should make sure they are taking the official campus tour and following up with their admissions reps. For a comprehensive look at how to exhibit demonstrated interest, read our Guide to Demonstrated Interest.

Of course, we can't talk about trends without mentioning the Varsity Blues admissions scandal, a devastating event in the college admissions industry. This scandal will likely impact the upcoming admissions cycle, but I believe the impact can be a positive one. It's critical that all the work a student submits—including their essays—comes from the mind and in the voice of a 17-year-old. The adults in a student's life should resist the temptation to orchestrate: this involvement will not help the student. Instead, the role of all adults should be to support and encourage students throughout this often stressful process.

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