Archive for December 11th, 2009

Admissions is a Tough Job

Friday, December 11th, 2009

In this era of the Common Application, Universal Application and relative ease of electronic filing, colleges are having a very tough time determining the percentage of students (yield) who will ultimately say “Yes” to their offer of admittance. The higher the yield percentage the more selective the school. Another way to look at it is the lower the acceptance rate, the higher the yield percentage. For instance, Harvard has a 7% acceptance rate and a 95% yield. Most colleges are not in such an enviable position. It becomes an “educated” guessing game for them. It is a tough job to determine who will say “Yes, I am coming; my $500 deposit is in the mail.”

Over the years as student applications have increased, admissions officers and enrollment Managers wait nervously to hear from students by May 1. I call that “National Deposit Day”. It is when the final college decision is made and the deposit check is sent to the student’s college of choice.college acceptance pic

A few years ago, Boston College, Boston University and Dartmouth did not have room for all the incoming freshman. Dartmouth sent out requests for some matriculates’ to delay college until the January term and Boston University put students up at the Ritz Carlton Hotel down the street. No extra charge!

Just this week, Cal State Long Beach, announced that it has received 72,245 applications from the Class of 2014 already. From that formidable amount they have to accept the proper balance of students to fill all their colleges within the University for a total of 5500 available spots.

The insightful article below will illustrate how many colleges do it…or try to do it.

Who Will Say “Yes” to Our “Yes”?

Friday, December 11th, 2009

In Shifting Era of Admissions, Colleges Sweat

By KATE ZERNIKE

As colleges weigh this year’s round of applications, high school seniors are not the only anxious ones.

Just as nervously, colleges — facing a financial landscape they have never seen before — are trying to figure out how many students to accept, and how many students will accept them.

Typically, they rely on statistical models to predict which students will take them up on their offers to attend. But this year, with the economy turning parents and students into bargain hunters, demographics changing and unexpected jolts in the price of gas and the number of applications, they have little faith on those models.college admissions office 3

“Trying to hit those numbers is like trying to hit a hot tub when you’re skydiving from 30,000 feet,” said Jennifer Delahunty, dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College in Ohio. “I’m going to go to church every day in April.”

In response, colleges are trying new methods to gauge which applicants are serious about attending: Wake Forest, in North Carolina, is using Webcam interviews, while other colleges say they are scrutinizing essays more closely. And they are making more vigorous appeals to try to convince parents and students who will be offered admission in April that theirs is the campus to choose. But mostly, they are guessing: Will pinched finances keep students closer to home? Will those who applied in December be feeling too poor to accept in May — or show up in August?

Colleges have been in the catbird seat for the past decade or so. As the number of high school students swelled, applications rose, allowing colleges to be more selective. And families benefiting from a flush stock market seemed willing to pay whatever tuition colleges charged. (more…)