College Applications Hit Another Record High

by Vault Education Editors | April 01, 2010

  • My Vault

Yesterday, when I emailed my contacts in the Ivy League about the new Undergraduate Student Survey, I received the following auto-reply:

Ivy League moratorium does not allow admissions officers to confer with applicants, their parents, secondary school counselors and alumni regarding admissions decisions for a period of time before and after decision letters are mailed. I will be available after 9:00am on Friday, April 2, 2010. Your message will be returned after that time.

Not a bad idea instituting a moratorium on communication--and not just to avoid calls from worried parents and stressed out applicants. Elite colleges and universities received more applications this year than before, continuing their upward trajectory. Admissions rates similarly hit record lows.

Record Admissions Numbers at Top Schools

About this time last year, I wrote an article about whether alumni should care about admissions numbers. My conclusion was yes. The higher the application numbers, lower the acceptance rates, the higher the value of your degree--whether you graduated last year or 10 years ago. I wrote:

For top schools--where applications increased at normal rates this year (at Princeton, they rose 2 percent; Harvard, 5 percent; and Yale, 8.5 percent)--the numbers do just seem to go up, so yearly statistics aren't particularly notable. Still, the fact that they are indeed rising indicates that these schools are maintaining top status. Each year, a top school receives thousands of applications, ranging from "strong" to "weak"--but the more applicants there are, the better the chance that more outstanding students are among them. Thus, large applicant pools enable schools to create a diverse and well-qualified class. Also important is the fact that application statistics carry enormous weight with organizations and publications that rank schools--and regardless of any controversy that may surround such rankings, their influence is undeniable.

Filed Under: Education

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