College Admissions

College admissions can be complex and stressful for students and their families. EDsmart aims to simplify this process by highlighting the top 10 factors colleges consider when evaluating applicants and providing essential statistics and insights into the admissions landscape.

Understanding what colleges seek in students and focusing on these areas can increase your chances of acceptance. Let’s dive into the key factors and data to help you confidently navigate your path to higher education.

10 Important Factors in College Admissions

Understanding what colleges seek in students can help reduce the stress surrounding college admissions. Here are the top 10 factors that colleges consider when evaluating applicants:

  1. Challenging high school curriculum: Take at least five core courses per semester and opt for AP, IB, and Honors classes when possible.
  2. Strong effort and upward grade trend: Colleges prefer slightly lower grades in rigorous programs over straight A’s in less challenging courses.
  3. Solid SAT or ACT scores: High test scores alone cannot compensate for low grades.
  4. Passionate involvement in few activities: Focus on depth, not breadth, of experience, and demonstrate leadership, initiative, and impact in those activities.
  5. Out-of-school experiences: Summer activities, work, and hobbies that reflect responsibility, dedication, and areas of interest are essential.
  6. Special talents or experiences: Develop a unique talent or skill that contributes to a well-rounded student body.
  7. Well-written, insightful essay: Craft a thoughtful and personal application essay that demonstrates careful and well-constructed writing.
  8. Anecdotal letters of recommendation: Obtain recommendations from teachers and counselors that highlight intellectual curiosity, special skills, and positive character traits.
  9. Demonstrated enthusiasm for the university: Schedule campus visits, attend information sessions, and maintain contact with the admissions office.
  10. Demonstrated intellectual curiosity: Showcase your curiosity through reading, school, extracurricular pursuits, summer activities, and more.

The college admissions process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these steps, you can increase your chances of getting into the college of your choice:

  1. Start early. The college admissions process takes time, so it’s important to start early. This will give you enough time to research schools, take standardized tests, and write essays.
  2. Research schools. Before you start applying to schools, it’s important to research your options. Consider your interests, academic goals, and financial situation when choosing schools to apply to.
  3. Take standardized tests. Most colleges require applicants to take standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT. These tests can be challenging, so it’s important to prepare for them.
  4. Write essays. Essays are an important part of the college admissions process. They give you a chance to share your story and why you want to attend a particular school.
  5. Get recommendations. Recommendations from teachers, counselors, and other adults can help you stand out from the competition.
  6. Submit your application. Once you’ve gathered all of your materials, it’s time to submit your application. Be sure to proofread your application carefully before submitting it.

Application Requirements

The application requirements for college vary from school to school. However, most schools require applicants to submit the following:

  • A completed application form
  • Official transcripts from your high school
  • Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
  • Essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement

Deadlines

The deadlines for college applications vary from school to school. However, most schools have deadlines in the fall of your senior year. It’s important to submit your application well in advance of the deadline to avoid any delays.

Financial Aid

The cost of college can be a major barrier for many students. However, there are a number of financial aid options available to help students pay for college. These options include scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs.

To learn more about financial aid, you can visit the website of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also contact the financial aid office at the colleges you’re interested in attending.

Admissions Statistics 2022-2023

Applicants, Admitted, and Enrolled

  • Total applicants: 57,273,341
  • Admitted students: 33,186,074
  • Enrolled students: 8,071,549
  • School type breakdown:
    • Public schools:
      • Applicants: 32,386,433
      • Admitted: 20,476,509
      • Enrolled: 5,398,603
    • Private schools:
      • Applicants: 24,886,908
      • Admitted: 12,709,565
      • Enrolled: 2,672,946
  • School level breakdown:
    • 4-year (or higher) schools:
      • Applicants: 56,983,691
      • Admitted: 32,976,535
      • Enrolled: 7,969,482
    • 2-4 year schools:
      • Applicants: 256,434
      • Admitted: 187,193
      • Enrolled: 86,307
    • Less than 2-year schools:
      • Applicants: 33,216
      • Admitted: 22,346
      • Enrolled: 15,760

Acceptance Rates

  • The average acceptance rate of US colleges in 2022-2023: 57.94%
  • Approximately 58 out of every 100 applicants were admitted
  • Acceptance rate variations:
    • Public institutions: 63.23%
    • Private institutions: 51.07%
  • Acceptance rate by program length:
    • Four-year programs: 57.95%
    • Two-year programs: 73.45%
    • Less than two-year programs: 54.67%
  • Acceptance rate by location:
    • Northeast: 62.49%
    • Midwest: 59.91%
    • South: 57.94%
    • West: 55.92%

Yield (Enrollment Rate)

Admission yield represents the number of enrolled students divided by the number of admitted students.

  • All Schools Average: 24.32%
  • Public schools:
    • Average admission yield: 26.36%
    • 4 Years (Or High): 26.25%
    • 2-4 Years: 46.32%
    • Less Than 2 Years: 71.28%
  • Private schools:
    • Average admission yield: 21.03%
    • 4 Years (Or High): 20.81%
    • 2-4 Years: 45.86%
    • Less Than 2 Years: 70.00%

SAT Scores

  • Average SAT score: 695
  • 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores by subject and school type/level:
    • All Schools Average (4-year schools):
      • Evidence-based Reading and Writing:
        • 25%: 319
        • 75%: 380
      • Math:
        • 25%: 314
        • 75%: 377
    • Public Schools:
      • Evidence-based Reading and Writing:
        • 25%: 348
        • 75%: 417
      • Math:
        • 25%: 342
        • 75%: 412
    • Private Schools:
      • Evidence-based Reading and Writing:
        • 25%: 290
        • 75%: 344
      • Math:
        • 25%: 286
        • 75%: 342

*The 25th percentile represents the lower 25th score, and the 75th percentile represents the upper 25th score of enrolled students.

ACT Scores

  • Average ACT score: 28
  • 25th and 75th percentile ACT scores by subject and school type/level:
    • All Schools Average:
      • Composite:
        • 25%: 13
        • 75%: 17
      • English:
        • 25%: 12
        • 75%: 16
      • Math:
        • 25%: 11
        • 75%: 15
    • Public Schools:
      • Composite:
        • 25%: 14
        • 75%: 18
      • English:
        • 25%: 13
        • 75%: 17
      • Math:
        • 25%: 13
        • 75%: 17
    • Private Schools:
      • Composite:
        • 25%: 12
        • 75%: 15
      • English:
        • 25%: 11
        • 75%: 14
      • Math:
        • 25%: 10
        • 75%: 13

*The 25th percentile represents the lower 25th score, and the 75th percentile represents the upper 25th score of enrolled students.