How do colleges build a freshman class? NACAC’s annual State of College Admission report — released on Thursday — offers students, parents, and others a peek at the various factors weighed when reviewing applications.
Now in its 15th year, the report continues to emphasize the importance of academic performance in the admission process. Altogether, colleges on average accept nearly two-thirds of first-time freshmen, with students’ grades and the academic rigor of their course loads weighing more heavily in decisions to admit than standardized test scores, high school class rank, or demonstrated interest in attending.
But other factors also play a role. For example, 22 percent of colleges rated the high school a student attended as at least moderately important in admission decisions for first-time freshmen. And roughly half of all colleges attributed some level of influence to alumni relations when accessing the applications of such students.
“This report reminds us that college admission decisions are highly contextualized, institution-specific endeavors that make simplistic descriptions difficult,” NACAC CEO Joyce Smith said in a press release. “Admission officers consider a wide range of factors when reviewing applications. Understanding the context in which a student’s record exists is an important component of evaluating what might make a student successful in higher education.”
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