Sharp Rise in the Number of College Applications

This year’s unprecedented application numbers worry students

The number of college applications are on the rise, and it is getting harder and harder to get into one of the Ivy League schools and other competitive colleges each year.

Generally, college applications increase about 1% each year, but during the 2020-2021 season they increased over 10% nationwide according to data from the Common App.  

Think that’s bad? Ivy League universities saw flat out astronomical increases in the number of applications received. Don’t believe us? See below.

Harvard University  – up 57% overall

Columbia University – Early Decision applications up 49%

Yale University – Early Action applications up 38%

Cornell University – Early Decision applications up 36%

University of Pennsylvania – up 34% overall

Dartmouth College – Early Decision applications up 29%

Brown University – Early Decision applications up 22%

What are the reasons behind this rise? Certainly, the global pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID-19), played a role in the sharp rise in students applying to college. Why? Most colleges and universities decided not to require SAT or ACT scores and that resulted in a wave of extra students applying who otherwise would not have qualified.

Also, as we expect to see this year, students are sending out more and more applications every year, but the large spike seen this year might be due to the uncertainty of the times. In fact, there was a whopping 9% increase in the amount of applications sent out by each college applicant nationwide. In addition, many colleges and universities now allow students to self-report grades instead of waiting for an academic transcript which invites some students to self-report grades they hope for but may not achieve. All of these new college admissions options make it easier for students to apply to college.

What does this mean for applicants for the Class of 2026? First, start early! Second, seek the help of a college admissions counselor or college essay writing tutor in order to make sure that your application will stand out in the tsunami of college applications that we anticipate college admissions offices will receive this fall.

“Our son says his tutoring session with Alana goes by so quickly he can’t believe it’s been an hour. He is always in a positive happy mood after class. It’s hard to believe it’s remote learning!”

— Monica K., parent of 7th grader

Is your child struggling with remote learning? Does your child need online writing support? Call us!

Dr. Osborn works with students from all over the world via Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, phone, and Google docs to help them reach their independent, college, and graduate school goals. Through a personal, one-on-one approach, Dr. Osborn creates an individualized curriculum for each student based on the student’s strengths, passions, and college aspirations. Her holistic approach helps students perform well in school and win admission to the Ivy League and other competitive colleges.  

About The Author
Susan Osborn, Ph.D., has spent 30 years in higher education, in admissions at Vassar College, in the English department and Writing Program at Rutgers University, in the lab at The New Jersey Center for Research on Writing, and as a private tutor. Dr. Osborn is also an award-winning writer and scholar and she brings both her education smarts and her writing smarts to every student relationship.

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