Early Application Trends for 2021-2022

With early application deadlines (and even most early application admissions decisions) WAY behind us, we've gained some insight into this year's early application trends.
Here's a snippet of those trends as outlined by Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of the Common Application.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 90% of Common App member schools are now test-optional. However, there has been an increase in test score submissions in 2021 in comparison to 2020.
COVID-19 resulted in a number of SAT test centres canceling exams and closing down altogether. In the 2020-2021 cycle, many colleges had no choice but to become test-optional in order to level the playing field and to encourage health and safety. Despite many schools maintaining this test-optional status, students are using the SAT / ACT to their advantage now that test centres are not as scarce. Why not add another strong data point to your application to make it even more competitive?
In the 2020-2021 application cycle, we saw a significant decrease in domestic student application as many families were affected financially by the pandemic. It was predicted that this would be a similar trend for international students... but we now know that prediction was wrong.
Despite domestic applications dropping in 2020, the number of international applicants has been on a steady rise throughout the pandemic. International students are looking now more than ever to venture to the US for higher education, despite health restrictions. 
As expected, 2021 has seen a rise in applications for both domestic and international students. As we move closer into the "post-pandemic" normal, we can expect this rise to continue... which means an increased need to submit an even more impressive application.
Ivy League schools are NOT the only schools that matter. But given that they have the largest "brand name" following, their trends tend to indicate overall trends for the application season.
In general, the ivies have seen an ever so slight dip in applicant numbers since the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, but numbers still remain high - with most schools reporting the SECOND highest early applicant pool in history (the first being last year).
When it comes onto admission to Ivy League schools, the rumour remains true that applying early can significantly increase your chances of acceptance. For example, Dartmouth admitted 20.1% of it's early applicants for the 2021-2022 cycle but their overall acceptance rate (including early and regular applicants) is about 9.2%. 
Of course, it's still way too soon to draw any final conclusions about the overall status of applicants the Class of 2026, but it's safe to say that the early admissions statistics are quite informative.
  • Total application volume for all Common Application schools with a November 1 deadline seems to be about 20% larger than in 2020. This indicates the possibility of a larger applicant pool overall!
  • The early applicant pool shows a much more diverse Class of 2026 - more first-generation students, under-represented minority students and international students.
  • More students choosing to self-report test scores sees an increase in test centres coming back, as well as applicants being more aware of the increasing need to be competitive.
If you're heading to college in 2023, now is the time to start strategizing so that you can have the STRONGEST and MOST COMPETITIVE application possible and you look towards becoming a part of the Class of 2027!
Author: Nicole McLaren Campbell
Nicole is founder of AIM Educational Services (now AIM Online Academy) and the Teen Success Club. Nicole is a college counseling expert and has been helping students for more than 10 years attain their college dreams.

You can find out more about how AIM Online Academy can help YOU here: http://www.aimonlineacademy.com

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