Admissions anxiety runs rampant

April 21, 2013

It’s called “admissions anxiety,” and enrollment directors at area colleges are seeing a lot of it.

“What we know, is that there are more students applying to more than ten colleges,” said Mark Hatch, Colorado College vice president for enrollment.

It isn’t necessarily the best way to get into college, they say.

But he said, “the darts in the dark” approach is not usually best. “If they are wise and realistic about their choices, they are better off with a more deliberate search.

“Counselors tell us that the selectivity at CC and other schools is driving anxiety among parents and students that they need to apply to more, particularly for the high -end schools,”

CC’s applicant pool increased 65 percent in the past decade. At the same time, the college has dropped its admission rate from 2,000 down to about 1,250 students. The flip side is that more are choosing to enroll, so their student yield actually increased from 28 percent to 40 percent in recent years.

Hatch is on the board of The Common Application, a nonprofit that provides a generic application that students can submit to any of the nearly 500 institutions that are members. This allows students to spend less time on applications, which used to vary widely.

Last year almost 2.5 million applications were submitted via the Common App Online.

However, Hatch said The Common App is not the cause of increase in applications in general — the average student member sends about four.

Kevin MacLennan, director of admissions at University of Colorado at Boulder, ssaid the most applications he has heard that a student made was 30. On average, CU candidates send out anywhere from three to eight.

CU is joining The Common App. “Technological solutions make it easier for students,” he said. They also have applications online and allow electronic transcripts. “In the past it was a lot of paper and U.S. mail.”

The Internet also helps students get more clarity through such things as virtual campus tours, which can contributes to an increase in applications. Also, colleges are recruiting more.

But in spite of all this, application anxiety doesn’t go away.

He said one popular way to better ensure a place is rolling admissions.

“That way they know they have a bird in hand,” Hatch said.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has rolling admissions. That means the school will accept applications and make decisions as soon as they are sent in — as early as September — instead of waiting to choose students all at once later on.

The increase in applications nationally is tied to the fact that college is a big investment, said Homer Wesley, UCCS vice chancellor of enrollment. UCCS will have around 1,550 freshmen this fall.

“They look at the total educational experience, academic programs, the quality of the experience, and certainly the cost. In the decision process, they apply based on a range of situations from dream to safety net,” he says.

Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371 Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook Carol McGraw

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