NACAC Survey: Colleges Report Transfer Students are Crucial to Enrollment Goals

More than two-thirds of US colleges view transfer students as considerably important in meeting enrollment goals, according to new survey results released today by NACAC.

The finding — included in the 14th annual edition of NACAC’s State of College Admission report — confirms that more colleges and universities are relying on transfer students to help fill their classes. National data show that more than one-third of all students switch schools sometime during their college career.

A greater proportion of public colleges (80 percent) rated transfer students as considerably important when compared to private colleges (62 percent). Colleges with larger enrollments and those with higher acceptance rates also rated transfer admission as more important to meeting enrollment goals.

NACAC’s State of College Admission — an annual report examining the transition from high school to postsecondary education — features survey data collected from colleges and universities across the country. This year’s report marks the third time the publication has included data related to transfer student admission.

Other noteworthy findings from the report include:

  • Application Growth Continues: Between the Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 admission cycles, the number of applications from first-time freshmen increased 7 percent; applications from prospective transfer students increased by 1 percent; and international student applications increased by 13 percent, on average.
  • Use of Early Action and Early Decision Increased: Between Fall 2015 and Fall 2016, colleges reported an average increase of 5 percent in the number of Early Decision applicants and 6 percent in Early Decision admits. The number of Early Action applications increased by 15 percent, while Early Action admits increased by 16 percent, on average.
  • Colleges Accept Nearly Two-Thirds of First-Time Freshmen: The average selectivity rate at four-year colleges for Fall 2015 was 66.1 percent, edging up from 65.8 percent in Fall 2014 after reaching a low of 63.9 percent in Fall 2012. The top factors in the admission decision were grades in college preparatory courses, overall high school GPA, admission test scores, and strength of curriculum.

Read the full report.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at

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