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The big picture (so far) this year

  • More students are applying to college

  • More students are applying to more colleges

  • More low income and international applicants are applying

  • More students are being deferred to the RD pool

The number of account creators grew over 200,000 from 2022-2023 to 2023–24 – an increase of 9%. The number of applications submitted per student continues to rise. Colleges are struggling to handle the volume in the fall, thus contributing to deferrals.

Deferrals are growing at colleges at every level of competitiveness–even among full-pay students. A few examples: last year, the University of Tampa surprised students with deferrals as their admit rate swiftly dropped. The College of Charleston recently deferred 20 students, many of whom assumed it would be a likely option, at one NJ high school. The surge in computer science and engineering applicants is impacting decisions at tech schools. Case Western Reserve is offering merit aid to students who agree to start their first year in the spring, and encouraging deferred students to switch to ED2. We predict many colleges will urge students to take the ED 2 option. 

Students reporting eligibility for a Common App fee waiver increased at over four times the rate of students not reporting fee waiver eligibility (18% vs. 4%). Growth in applicants from below median income ZIP codes continued to outpace their peers at 14% (versus 5% in 2022-2023). 

International applications dropped during the pandemic, but now have surged past their 2019-2020 levels. Here’s a dramatic shift: growth in the number of international applicants continues to far outpace growth in domestic applicants at 19% since 2022–23 (versus 7% domestic). In addition to the expected large numbers of applicants from China and India, growth is fastest among applicants with citizenship in Ghana (173%), Mongolia (76%), Ukraine (46%), Kazakhstan (40%), and Morocco (35%).

Deferrals may be frustrating, but they are not denials. More about that in 2024.


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