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Class of 2027 Admission Trends

There has been a 7% increase in applications submitted, but that number is down from 11% in the pandemic years. So growth has slowed down, and here’s an interesting trend: more total applications have been submitted as opposed to more applications per applicant. That means that more students are applying to college than they did during the height of the pandemic, and some students are applying to fewer colleges.

Who’s applying, and which colleges are they applying to?

International applications, which came to a near stop during travel bans, are back to pre-pandemic levels. Applications from underserved populations are up 55 to 66%. The biggest jump we are seeing is 60% growth of applications to public colleges. And while this number includes very selective institutions like the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia, 80% of this application growth is due to applications to colleges that admit 50% + of their applicants. I certainly see this trend in action with the wave of northeast students applying to large southern public colleges.

A natural result of more applications is more deferrals. USC received 40,000 EA applications and deferred most; the same was true for Clemson and the University of Michigan. Restricted Early Action, generally a benefit at Georgetown, did not pan out that way this year because most deferred students ended up on the waitlist.

When colleges offer an ED option, we see the gap continue to widen between ED and RD admission. As they admit a high percentage of ED applicants, both Boston University and Northeastern (74% in 2022-23), general admit rates have plummeted. Both of these schools were significantly overenrolled and are now addressing that.

How should 2024 grads approach this scenario? By the time-honored formula: apply to a balanced list of schools. Reach for those “unlikelies” if you have the numbers and extracurriculars to support your application, but make sure to have targets and likely colleges on your list that you would be happy to attend.


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