June 13, 2023
A reaction to an article in The New York Times entitled “For Colleges, Admissions is a Business. and Business is Booming.”
In The New York Times issue of March 16, 2023, an article was published about college and university admissions in the United States that was written by Jeffery Selingo, the former editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education and the author of the book, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions. Mr. Selingo did his homework. In so doing, the points that he made deserve to be shared with those interested in this topic:
- High school seniors in 2023 applied to more colleges than ever before. Specifically, the number of applications to colleges or universities in the USA has doubled in the last eight years.
- The Common Application is a critical issue that has had a profound impact on the number of applications candidates have submitted.
- Application inflation is most acute at the nation’s brand-named and top-ranked public and private colleges.
- More than one-third of the colleges that accept the Common Application now offer “Early Action,” which requires students to apply in November to (theoretically) get a decision in January.
- Later in his article, Selingo’s research resulted in the conclusion, “I found that majors and specific skills are just as critical as the admissions selectivity of the college in the ultimate payoff of the degree.”
- The last point Selingo made that deserves attention was: “One of the problems with the current admissions process is that colleges don’t share nearly enough information about what’s happening behind the curtain when applicants need it the most, nor do they share much about the outcomes of their graduates beyond whether they’re employed six months after graduation.
To his credit, Mr. Selingo researched how various universities managed the considerable uptick in applications. I will not review the data of each, other than to acknowledge that Selingo received relevant information from Clemson, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Southern California. All are large, major institutions that are highly respected.
Now that I have given you a brief overview of the current situation, I’ll share with you some of my concerns and biases. They are as follows:
- The Common Application: While the application process for…