Yesterday Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed reported in a lengthy (but characteristically thorough) article that despite the economic downturn, the number of early decision applications to many expensive, private colleges is up this year over last. Mr. Jaschik offers the following possible explanations:
1. Colleges are better communicating that college fit matters, so students are making decisions earlier about which colleges fit them best.
2. Colleges are more clearly communicating that early decision applicants will not suffer by receiving smaller financial aid packages than their counterparts who are accepted regular decision.
3. State colleges are sending out panicky press releases that not only will it be tougher to gain admission, but faculty will be cut, programs slashed, and class sizes increased–messages that send families running in the opposite direction.
4. Parents are unwilling to sacrifice a quality education for their kids, no matter the financial burdens.
Frankly, however, nobody really can figure out why early decision and early action applications are up at so many expensive private colleges. What everyone does agree on, however, is this is shaping up to be one of the wackiest, least predictable admissions cycles ever.
Here are some sample increases of percentage increases in early applications at some private colleges.
St. Olaf: 50%
Warren Wilson: 30%
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