القبول الجامعي في الولايات المتحدة
القبول في الجامعات في الولايات المتحدة يشير إلى عملية التقدم للحصول على القبول في مؤسسات التعليم العالي لل دراسة الجامعية في إحدى الكليات أو الجامعات في البلاد.   بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يعتزمون الالتحاق بالجامعة مباشرة بعد المدرسة الثانوية ، يبدأ البحث عن الكلية عادةً في الصف الحادي عشر  مع حدوث معظم النشاط خلال الصف الثاني عشر ، على الرغم من أن الطلاب في المدارس الثانوية العليا غالبًا ما يبدأون العملية خلال الصف العاشر أو قبل ذلك. بالإضافة إلى ذلك ، هناك أعداد كبيرة من الطلاب الذين ينتقلون من كلية إلى أخرى، وكذلك البالغين الأكبر من سن المدرسة الثانوية الذين يتقدمون إلى الكلية.
يتقدم الملايين من طلاب المدارس الثانوية إلى الكلية كل عام. كان هناك ما يقرب من 4.23 مليون في الفئة العمرية للتخرج من المدارس الثانوية في 2018-2019 ، مع ما يقدر بنحو 3.68 مليون خريج من المدارس الثانوية (3.33 مليون في المدارس العامة و 0.35 مليون في المدارس الخاصة).  من المتوقع أن يرتفع عدد خريجي المدارس الثانوية إلى 3.89 مليون في 2025-2026 قبل أن يتراجع إلى 3.71 مليون في 2027-2028. من داخل هذه المجموعة ، كان عدد الطلاب الجدد في الالتحاق بخريف ما بعد المرحلة الثانوية 2.90 مليون في عام 2019 ، مقسمًا بين كليات مدتها 4 سنوات (1.29 مليون يدرس في المؤسسات العامة و 0.59 مليون يدرس في المدارس الخاصة) وكليات مدتها سنتان (حوالي 0.95 مليون عام ؛ 0.05 مليون خاص).  من المتوقع أن يستمر عدد الطلاب الجدد في الزيادة ليصل إلى 2.96 مليون في عام 2028 ، مما يحافظ على الطلب على التعليم الجامعي.
سوف طلاب المدارس الثانوية وعادة ما تبدأ عملية التخطيط القبول في الجامعات في هم السنة الثالثة ، مع تطبيقات المقررة في أكتوبر من العام كبار هؤلاء (ل قرار المبكر أو العمل في وقت مبكر ) أو في شهر ديسمبر من هم كبار السنة (لاتخاذ القرار منتظم) على الرغم من أن الجدول الزمني تطبيق ل قد تختلف كل كلية. على سبيل المثال ، العديد من الجامعات العامة مثل نظام جامعة كاليفورنيا لديها موعد نهائي لشهر نوفمبر. نظرًا لأن عملية القبول تضع وزنًا كبيرًا على نص المدرسة الثانوية للطالب ، فإن تخطيط القبول بالمعنى الأوسع قد يحدث في وقت مبكر جدًا في مهنة الطالب بالمدرسة الثانوية.
يمكن للطلاب التقدم إلى مدارس متعددة وتقديم طلبات منفصلة لكل مدرسة. التطورات الأخيرة مثل التسجيل الإلكتروني عبر التطبيق المشترك ، الذي تستخدمه الآن حوالي 800 مدرسة ومعالجة 25 مليون طلب ، سهلت زيادة عدد الطلبات لكل طالب.   تم تقديم حوالي 80 بالمائة من الطلبات عبر الإنترنت في عام 2009.  تقدم حوالي ربع المتقدمين إلى سبع مدارس أو أكثر ، ودفع متوسط 40 دولارًا لكل طلب.  معظم المؤسسات الجامعية قبول الطلاب إلى الكلية برمتها الجامعيين "غير معلن" وليس لعبارة معينة قسم أو تخصص ، على عكس العديد من الجامعات الأوروبية والمدارس العليا الأمريكية، على الرغم من أن بعض برامج البكالوريوس مثل الهندسة المعمارية أو الهندسة قد يتطلب تطبيق منفصل في بعض الجامعات. كقاعدة عامة ، يعد التقديم على كليات المقاطعة والمجتمعات ذات العامين أسهل بكثير من الالتحاق بمدرسة مدتها أربع سنوات ، وغالبًا ما تتطلب فقط نسخة من المدرسة الثانوية أو الحد الأدنى من درجات الاختبار.
تشمل الاتجاهات الحديثة في القبول بالجامعات زيادة عدد الطلبات ، وزيادة اهتمام الطلاب في البلدان الأجنبية بالتقدم إلى الجامعات الأمريكية ،  المزيد من الطلاب المتقدمين بطريقة مبكرة ،  الطلبات المقدمة من خلال الأساليب المستندة إلى الإنترنت بما في ذلك التطبيق المشترك و تحالف للكلية ، وزيادة استخدام الاستشاريين ، والكتيبات الإرشادية ، والتصنيفات ، وزيادة استخدام الكليات لقوائم الانتظار .  جعلت هذه الاتجاهات القبول بالجامعات عملية تنافسية للغاية ، وعملية مرهقة للطلاب وأولياء الأمور ومستشاري الكلية على حدٍ سواء ، بينما تتنافس الكليات على تصنيفات أعلى ، ومعدلات قبول أقل ، وعوائد أعلى لتعزيز مكانتها ورغباتها. أصبح القبول في الكليات الأمريكية بالمستوى الإجمالي أكثر تنافسية ولكن معظم الكليات تقبل غالبية المتقدمين ؛ كانت الانتقائية والمنافسة الشديدة مركزة للغاية في عدد قليل من الكليات الأكثر انتقائية.  (إجمالي الطلاب الجدد المسجلين في أفضل 100 مدرسة انتقائية حيث يكون معدل القبول أقل من 35٪ أقل من 200000 من إجمالي 2.90 مليون طالب جديد في جميع مؤسسات التعليم ما بعد الثانوي). من ناحية أخرى ، زادت الكليات من التواصل لجذب المتقدمين الذين كانوا تاريخياً ممثلين تمثيلاً ناقصًا في مجموعة المتقدمين والصفوف المقبولة ، مثل المتقدمين من الأحياء ذات الدخل المنخفض (والتي قد لا يتم خدمتهم جيدًا من قبل مستشارين جامعيين على دراية) والمتقدمين الذين هم أولاً- طلاب كلية الجيل.
في عام 2018 ، كان هناك تحقيق من قبل وزارة العدل حول ما إذا كانت الكليات التي تمارس القبول المبكر تنتهك قوانين مكافحة الاحتكار من خلال مشاركة المعلومات حول المتقدمين.  انتقلت قضية SFFA ضد Harvard إلى المحاكمة ، زاعمة أن ممارسات القبول في هارفارد الواعية بالعرق تميز ضد الآسيويين وتضع إجراءات إيجابية في سياق القبول في الكلية مرة أخرى في الساحة القضائية. في عام 2019 ، كان هناك نظام رشوة وغش واسع النطاق استخدم فيه الآباء الأثرياء أساليب خادعة لإيصال أطفالهم إلى مدارس تنافسية ، بما في ذلك الغش في الاختبارات الموحدة بالإضافة إلى دفع رشاوى لمدربي الجامعات وموظفي القبول. 
قد يكون التقدم إلى الكليات أمرًا مرهقًا. قد تؤثر نتيجة عملية القبول بشكل كبير على حياة الطالب ومساره الوظيفي. يتزايد التنافس بين الالتحاق بالكليات العليا ،    ويشعر العديد من الطلاب بضغط هائل خلال سنوات دراستهم الثانوية. 
التعليم الابتدائي العام الخاص والأثرياء ، والدورات الإعدادية للاختبار ، وبرامج "الإثراء" ، ومشاريع الخدمة التطوعية ، والسفر الدولي ، ودروس الموسيقى ، والأنشطة الرياضية - كل اللبنات الأساسية عالية التكلفة للتطبيق الجامعي المثالي - تضع ضغطًا ساحقًا على الوسط العلوي الطبقة وذريتهم.- أستاذ جامعة ييل William Deresiewicz ، اقتبس في بي بي سي عن مقالته في The New Republic ، 2014 
قد تكون عملية التقديم إلى الكلية مرهقة لآباء المراهقين ، وفقًا للصحفي أندرو فيرجسون ، لأنها تكشف "غرورنا وطموحاتنا الاجتماعية وانعدام الأمن الطبقي ، والأكثر عمقًا حبنا وآمالنا لأطفالنا". 
مستشارو المدارس الثانوية
يوجد في بعض المدارس الثانوية مدرس واحد أو أكثر من ذوي الخبرة في تقديم المشورة للطلاب الملتحقين بالكلية في سنواتهم الإعدادية والعليا.  غالبًا ما يلتقي أولياء الأمور مع مستشار المدرسة أثناء العملية مع الطالب.  ينصح المرشدون الطلاب بالتعرف على مستشار مدرستهم.  عادةً ما يعمل المستشار جنبًا إلى جنب مع قسم التوجيه الذي يساعد الطلاب في التخطيط لمسارهم الأكاديمي في المدرسة الثانوية.
يتواصل مستشارو المدرسة مع الكليات عامًا بعد عام ويمكن أن يساعدوا في اقتراح كليات مناسبة للطالب. يقترح مامليت وفاندي فيلد أنه من غير اللائق أن يتلاعب مستشار القبول بـ "الذات الأصيلة" للطالب.  وفقًا لوجهة نظرهم ، يتمتع المستشارون المثاليون بخبرة في القبول بالجامعات ، ويلتقون بانتظام مع مسؤولي القبول بالجامعات ، وينتمون إلى المنظمات المهنية.  لا يكمل المستشارون المقابلات ولا يكتبون المقالات أو يرتبون زيارات جامعية.  يتحمل معظم المستشارين مسؤولية مساعدة العديد من الطلاب ، ونتيجة لذلك ، يصعب عليهم تقديم مساعدة فردية لطالب معين ؛ كان أحد التقديرات أن متوسط النسبة لجميع المدارس الثانوية من الطلاب إلى المرشدين كان 460 إلى 1.  فقط حوالي ربع المدارس الثانوية العامة لديها مستشار مخصص لقضايا الإرشاد الجامعي بدوام كامل ، في حين أن ما يقرب من ثلاثة أرباع المدارس الخاصة المدارس لديها مستشار جامعي مخصص.  يميل مستشارو المدارس الخاصة إلى الاتصال بموظفي القبول بالجامعة أكثر من مستشاري المدارس العامة. 
يمكن تعيين مستشارين مقابل أجر ، بعضهم متاح بالكامل عبر الإنترنت ،  لمساعدة الطالب في الحصول على القبول ، على الرغم من وجود بعض البرامج المجانية لمساعدة الشباب المحرومين على تعلم كيفية ملء الطلبات ، وكتابة المقالات ، والاستعداد للاختبارات ، والعمل في المقابلات.  بشكل عام ، عند الاستعانة بمستشار قبول جامعي ، يحاول أولياء الأمور والطلاب فهم فلسفة المستشار ، ومعرفة الخدمات المقدمة ، وما إذا كان سيتم تقديم أي مساعدة بخصوص المشورة بشأن المساعدة المالية أو المنح الدراسية.  يمكن للاستشاريين مساعدة الطالب على اختيار المدارس للتقدم إليها ، وتقديم المشورة لهم بشأن استراتيجيات إجراء الاختبار ، ومراجعة الدرجات ، والمساعدة في إعداد المقالات (ولكن ليس الكتابة) ، ومراجعة الطلبات ، وإجراء مقابلات وهمية ، وتوفير التخطيط اللوجستي ، والتعاون مع الآخرين مثل كمدربين رياضيين.  يحاول الاستشاريون الابتعاد عن الأنظار ؛ ومع ذلك ، أوضحت إحدى عميد القبول أنه يمكنها "التعرف على وقت مشاركة بعض البالغين في العملية" ، وقد يكتشف موظفو القبول جودة متفاوتة فيما يتعلق بكتابة العينات عندما يكون جزء من التطبيق مصقولًا ، بينما تكون الأجزاء الأخرى أقل تلميعًا.   المساعدة من قبل الاستشاريين أو غيرهم من البالغين يمكن أن تذهب إلى أقصى الحدود ، لا سيما مع المتغيرات التي يصعب التحقق منها مثل مقالات الكلية. ووفقًا لأحد وجهات النظر ، فإن الانتحال في مقالات القبول كان "مشكلة خطيرة" ، لا سيما في الطلبات المقدمة إلى الجامعات والكليات الخاصة.  هناك خطر آخر في الاستعانة بخبير استشاري وهو التعبئة الزائدة : يبدو مقدم الطلب سلسًا ومثاليًا لدرجة أن ضباط القبول يشتبهون في أن الشخص ليس حقيقياً ولكنه من إبداع التسويق. 
موظفو القبول بالكلية
يشمل طاقم القبول النموذجي في الكلية عميدًا أو نائب رئيس لإدارة القبول أو التسجيل ، ومدراء من المستوى المتوسط أو مدراء مساعدين ، وموظفي القبول ، وموظفي الدعم الإداري.  أحيانًا يكون كبير مسؤولي إدارة الالتحاق هو أعلى منصب مدفوع الأجر في القسم ، حيث يحصل على 121000 دولار في المتوسط في عام 2010 ، بينما يبلغ متوسط دخل ضباط القبول 35000 دولار فقط ، وفقًا لأحد التقديرات.   يميل ضباط القبول إلى أن يكونوا في الفئة العمرية من 30 إلى 40 عامًا.  يتم اختيارهم لخبرتهم في القبول ، والاستعداد للإحصاء وتحليل البيانات ، والخبرة في الإدارة والتسويق والعلاقات العامة.  وهم يقومون بأدوار مزدوجة كمستشارين ومجندين ، ولا يعتبرون أنفسهم مسوقين أو مندوبين مبيعات ، وفقًا لإحدى وجهات النظر.  يتم تقييمهم على أساس مدى "تمثيلهم كليتهم ، وإدارة مكاتبهم ، وتعيين الموظفين ، والعمل مع إداريين آخرين."  اقترحت ميشيل هيرنانديز أن هناك نوعين أساسيين من الضباط: المجموعة الأولى من الشخصيات الأنيقة والحادة والموجهة نحو الناس والتي غالبًا ما كانت من خريجي الجامعات الجدد. المجموعة الثانية كانت إلى حد ما من "الأعمار" الذين لم يتخرجوا في كثير من الأحيان من كلية انتقائية للغاية.  يحصل الضباط بشكل عام على رواتب سنوية ، على الرغم من ورود تقارير عن دفع بعض المجندين على أساس عدد الطلاب الذين يحضرونهم إلى الكلية ، مثل المجندين الذين يعملون في الخارج لتجنيد الطلاب الأجانب في الجامعات الأمريكية. 
تعمل العديد من الكليات والجامعات بجد لتسويق نفسها ، في محاولة لجذب أفضل الطلاب والحفاظ على سمعة الجودة الأكاديمية. أنفقت الكليات ما معدله 585 دولارًا أمريكيًا لتوظيف كل متقدم خلال عام 2010.   هناك جهود لزيادة استخدام مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي مثل Facebook للترويج لكلياتهم.  غالبًا ما تصل كتيبات التسويق والمراسلات الترويجية الأخرى يوميًا على أمل إقناع طلاب المدارس الثانوية بالتقدم إلى الكلية. وفقًا لجوان ليفي بريويت ، ترسل الكليات "عرض الكتب" ليس لأنها تنوي قبولها ، ولكن "لأنها تريد أن يتقدم العديد من الطلاب" لتحسين انتقائية الكلية وللتأكد من أن لديها العديد من المتقدمين المؤهلين جيدًا قدر الإمكان لمن تختار الطبقة الأقوى.  تحصل الكليات على الأسماء والعناوين بعد أن يعطيها الطلاب الإذن بعد إجراء اختبارات PSAT أو SAT . 
تجمع US News & World Report دليلاً للكليات وتنشر تصنيفات لها ، على الرغم من أن التصنيف مثير للجدل.  مصادر أخرى تصنف الكليات وفقًا لمقاييس مختلفة ، وتبيع الكتيبات الإرشادية ، وتستخدم تصنيفاتها كمدخل إلى الخدمات الاستشارية. أطلق College Board موقعًا على شبكة الإنترنت يسمى BigFuture في عام 2012 مع أدوات للمساعدة في عملية القبول. 
بالنسبة لأولئك الذين ينوون دخول الكلية مباشرة بعد المدرسة الثانوية ، تبدأ عملية القبول عادةً خلال الصف الحادي عشر للطالب عندما يجتمع الطالب مع مستشار التوجيه ، ويختار بعض الكليات ، وربما يزور عددًا قليلاً من الجامعات. الصيف قبل الصف الثاني عشر هو الوقت الذي يقوم فيه العديد من المتقدمين بوضع اللمسات الأخيرة على خطط التقديم وربما يبدأون في كتابة المقالات. علاوة على ذلك ، يقررون ما إذا كانوا سيقدمون بقرار مبكر أو منتظم. قد يحتاج الطلاب الدوليون إلى إجراء اختبارات تُظهر إجادة اللغة الإنجليزية مثل TOEFL أو IELTS أو PTE Academic .  الصف الثاني عشر هو عندما يتم تقديم الطلبات.
هناك العديد من تصنيف الجامعات والكليات ، بما في ذلك تلك التي أخبار الولايات المتحدة والتقرير العالمي ،  من الداخل الأعمال ،  المال ،  واشنطن شهري ،  و فوربس . 
كانت التصنيفات موضع انتقادات كثيرة . منذ يتم توفير الكثير من البيانات من قبل الكليات نفسها، يمكن للمدارس التلاعب في التصنيف العالمي لتعزيز مكانة، مثل كليرمونت ماكينا التقارير المغلوطة بشأن إحصاءات SAT متوسط،  و جامعة إيموري التقارير المغلوطة بشأن بيانات الطلاب ل "أكثر من عقد من الزمان"،  كما كذلك تقارير عن بيانات غير صحيحة من الأكاديمية البحرية للولايات المتحدة و جامعة بايلور .  هناك نفاق يحيط بالتصنيفات: تتظاهر بعض الكليات بأنها تكره الكتيبات الإرشادية التي ترتبها ، ولكن إذا حصلوا على كتابة جيدة ، فإنهم "يلوحون بها مثل حزام رباط العروس." 
تم انتقاد الخيارات التي اتخذتها الكليات لتعزيز تصنيفها باعتبارها مدمرة.  قد لا تأخذ التصنيفات في الاعتبار القدرة على تحمل التكاليف في الكلية ،  عامل في متوسط مديونية الطالب بعد الكلية ، أو تقيس مدى جودة تعليم الكليات لطلابها.  تم اتهام التصنيفات بضبط خوارزمياتها لترسيخ سمعة حفنة من المدارس بينما فشلت في قياس مقدار ما يتعلمه الطلاب.  يؤكد بعض مستشاري القبول أن التصنيف هو مؤشر ضعيف للجودة الكلية للكلية. 
في عام 2007 ، ناقش أعضاء مجموعة أنابوليس رسالة إلى رؤساء الكليات يطلبون منهم عدم المشاركة في "استطلاع السمعة" الخاص بـ US News & World Report .  وافقت أغلبية من حوالي 80 رئيسًا في الاجتماع على عدم المشاركة ،  على الرغم من أن البيانات لم تكن ملزمة.  تعهد الأعضاء بتطوير صيغ معلومات بديلة على شبكة الإنترنت  بالاشتراك مع العديد من الجمعيات الجماعية.  ردت يو إس نيوز آند وورلد ريبورت بأن استطلاع تقييم الزملاء يساعد على قياس "الأشياء غير الملموسة" للكلية مثل قدرة سمعة الكلية على مساعدة الخريج في الفوز بوظيفة أولى أو الالتحاق بكلية الدراسات العليا. 
|المجموع (56 مؤسسة)||27 جامعة خاصة||6 جامعات حكومية||23 كلية فنون ليبرالية|
|Ivy League ، Stanford ، MIT ، UChicago ، Duke ، Northwestern ، Vanderbilt ، Johns Hopkins ، Rice ، USC ، WashU ، Tulane ، Tufts ، Georgetown ، Carnegie Mellon ، Notre Dame ، Emory ، NYU ، BU ، Northeastern||جامعة كاليفورنيا ، لوس أنجلوس ، بيركلي ، جورجيا للتكنولوجيا ، |
UNC-Chapel Hill ، UMich ، UVA
|بومونا ، كليرمونت ماك ، سوارثمور ، بودوين ، أمهيرست ، ويليامز ، كولبي ، بارنارد ، بيتزر ، بيتس ، هارفي مود ، كولورادو كول ، ميدلبري ، ويسليان ، هاميلتون ، هافرفورد ، كارلتون ، ديفيدسون ، ويليسلي ، دبليو آند إل ، كولجيت ، جرينيل ، فاسار|
|سنة الدخول||تطبيقات||يعترف||يتسجل، يلتحق|
Sticker versus net price
Most colleges and universities, particularly private ones, have an artificially high and unreliable sticker price while charging most students, by awarding grant and scholarship money, a "discounted price" that varies considerably. For example, in 2011–2012, the average sticker price for tuition, fees and living expenses at private colleges, was $38,590 while the average actual cost was $23,060; at public colleges, the average sticker price was $17,130 and the average actual cost was $11,380. The average full-time undergraduate gets $6,500 in grant aid along with $1,000 in tax-based aid to offset tuition and fees.
Sticker price is the full price colleges list in their brochures and on their websites. Net price is the price students actually pay. Net price accounts for the fact that many students receive grants or scholarships. So it can be considerably lower than sticker price.— Jacob Goldstein, NPR, 2012
Discounting began in the 1970s and was dramatically expanded in the 1990s. Sticker prices are set at much higher than the real costs for most students, sometimes more than double, sometimes only one and a half times as high. Estimates are that 88% or 67% get some form of discount. The average first-year student may be paying 48% less than the sticker price. Generally, the sticker-to-net price discrepancy is greater at private colleges than public universities.
Colleges use high sticker prices to give themselves wide latitude in how to use funds to attract the best students, as well as entice students with special skills or increase its overall racial or ethnic diversity. The most sought-after students can be enticed by high discounts while marginal students can be charged full price. Further, the high sticker price is a marketing tool to suggest the overall worth of a college education by encouraging people to think that "schools that cost more must provide a better education." While there was growing concern about escalating college prices, most Americans believed that their personal investment in higher education was sound. But discounting adds complexity to decision-making, deterring some students from applying in some instances based on a false sense of unaffordability. Students from low-income backgrounds may be discouraged from applying or driven to attend less challenging colleges as a result of undermatching. Many schools now recruit students who pay full cost to subsidize those who can afford to pay much less, resulting in the financial makeup of the student body at some colleges skewed towards mostly affluent students and low-income students but few students from middle-class backgrounds. In 2015, however, there were several instances of private colleges reducing their tuition by more than 40%.
Net price calculators
In the fall of 2011, colleges were required by federal law to post a net price calculator on their websites to give prospective students and families a rough estimate of likely college costs for their particular institution, and to "demystify pricing." A student or family could go online, find the calculator at a college's website, and enter the required financial and academic information, and the calculator will provide a personalized estimate of the likely cost of attending that college. The first online calculators were started by Williams College. The online calculators look at financial need and academic merit to try to estimate the likely discounted price offered to a particular student from a particular college, using information including details from tax returns, household income, grade point averages and test scores. Schools vary in terms of their pricing formulas; some consider home equity as a factor while others disregard it.
There are numerous potential problems with the calculators. Some are difficult to find on a college's website; others require specific financial numbers, possibly leading to errors by parents or students; some are difficult to understand and use; some may be manipulated by schools to increase applications or to make it seem as if a college is "more affordable" than it is. Accuracy of calculator estimates may vary considerably from college to college. Ultimately aid decisions will not be made by calculators, but by humans in the admissions offices.
Another tool is the College Board's expected family contribution calculator that can give families an idea of how much college will cost, but not for any particular college.
There are many reports that many applicants fail to apply for financial aid when they are qualified for it, with an estimated 1.8 million students in 2006 qualifying for aid but failing to apply. Applying for financial aid is recommended by almost all college admissions advisers, even for middle- and upper-class families applying to private colleges. Each college has its own criteria for determining financial need and loans. One advisor counseled against letting the sticker price of a college dissuade a student from applying, since many of the top colleges have strong endowments allowing them to subsidize expenses, such that the colleges are less expensive than so-called "second tier" or state colleges.
College advisers suggest that parents keep financial records, including tax forms, business records, to use when applying for financial aid, and complete the FAFSA online, using income and tax estimates (usually based on previous years), early in January of their college-bound student's twelfth grade. Admissions officers can see the names of up to nine other colleges a student has applied to. According to several reports, some colleges may deny admission or reduce aid based on their interpretation of the order of colleges on the FAFSA; accordingly, several sources recommend that colleges be listed alphabetically on the FAFSA to obscure any preferences. The earliest that the FAFSA form can be filled out is January first of twelfth grade; in contrast, the CSS Profile can be filled out earlier during the preceding fall. There are reports that many parents make mistakes when filling out the FAFSA information, and mistakes include failing to hit the "submit" button, visiting an incorrect FAFSA website, leaving some fields blank instead of properly entering a zero, spelling names or entering social security numbers or estimating tax data incorrectly. Since FAFSA formulas assume 20% of a student's assets can be used for college expenses as opposed to 6% of a parent's assets, advisors recommend moving funds from student to parent accounts before filing the FAFSA, including moving funds to a parent-controlled 529 plan tax-advantaged account. Filing taxes early is recommended, but using estimates for FAFSA from previous years is possible provided the numbers are updated later after taxes are filed. There are no fees for applying on the FAFSA site. According to one source, the best time to begin searching for scholarships is before the twelfth grade, to guarantee meeting deadlines. Several reports confirm that it is important to file aid forms such as the CSS Profile early in the school year.
In addition to cost factors, increasingly colleges are being compared on the basis of the average student debt of their graduates, and US News has developed rankings based on average student indebtedness. A report in the Utne Reader chronicled substantial student indebtedness, and suggested that 37 million Americans in 2009 held student debt, and that nine in ten students used an average of 4.6 credit cards to pay for some educational expenses. The report chronicled an increase in average indebtedness from an average of $2,000 in 1980–81 to over $25,000 in 2009, as well as substantial decreases in Federal aid and Pell grants during that time period.
US News and others suggest another factor overlooked in terms of financing college, which is the length of time it takes to earn a degree. Finishing a year early (in three years) lops off a substantial portion of the overall bill, while taking five years compounds the expense and delays entry into the workforce. Jacques Steinberg suggested that many college-bound students calculate how much debt they were likely to incur each year, and he suggested that debt for all four years of college should total less than the graduate's expected first year's salary after college, and preferably under $40,000. A handful of schools have "free tuition" policies for low income students, so that they graduate loan-free.
Colleges by type
Most educational institutions in the U.S. are nonprofit. Colleges and universities in the U.S. vary in terms of goals: some may emphasize a vocational, business, engineering or technical curriculum while others may emphasize a liberal arts curriculum. Many combine some or all of the above. Another consideration is the male-female ratio; overall, 56% of enrolled college students are women, but the male-female ratio varies by college, year, and program. Admissions guidance counselors can offer views about whether a public or private school is best, and give a sense of the tradeoffs.
Two-year colleges are often county- or community-oriented schools funded by state or local governments, and typically offer the associate degree (AA). They are generally inexpensive, particularly for in-state residents, and are focused on teaching, and accept most applicants meeting minimum grade and SAT score levels. Students commute to school and rarely live in dorms on campus. These schools often have articulation arrangements with four-year state public schools to permit students to transfer. Consultants suggest that community colleges are reasonably priced, and after two years with solid grades and academic performance, many colleges are willing to accept transfers.
Four-year colleges offer Bachelor of Arts (BA or AB) or Bachelor of Science (BS or SB) degrees. These are primarily undergraduate institutions, although some might have limited programs at the graduate level. Graduates of the tuition-free United States service academies receive both a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission.
Universities have both undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate programs grant a variety of master's degrees as well as the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Medical schools award either the MD or DO degrees while law schools award the JD degree. Both public and private universities are usually research-oriented institutions.
Liberal arts colleges are four-year institutions that emphasize interactive instruction, although research is still a component of these institutions. They are usually residential colleges with most students living on campus in dorms. They tend to have smaller enrollments, class sizes, and lower student-teacher ratios than universities, and encourage teacher-student interaction with classes taught by full-time faculty members rather than graduate students known as teaching assistants. There are further distinctions within the category of liberal arts colleges: some are coeducational, women's colleges, or men's colleges. There are historically black colleges; in addition, while most schools are secular, some stress a particular religious orientation. Most are private colleges but there are some public ones.
State colleges and universities are usually subsidized with state funds and tend to charge lower tuitions to residents of that state. They tend to be large, sometimes with student bodies numbering in the tens of thousands, and offer a variety of programs. They are generally less selective in terms of admissions than elite private schools and are usually less expensive, sometimes half or a third as much as a private institution for in-state residents. There are reports that due to recent budget shortfalls, many state schools are trying to attract higher-paying out-of-state residents. In the past few years, competition for spots in public institutions has become more intense, with some state schools such as the State University of New York reporting record numbers of students accepting their offers of admission. There are reports that tuition at state universities is rising faster than at private universities. Flagship state universities are usually the most prominent public schools in a state, often being the oldest and most well-funded.
Methods of college entry
Test preparation courses
There are conflicting reports about the usefulness of test preparation courses. Mamlet and VanDeVelde suggest that "most students don't need a coach or a class" and that the single largest factor was "familiarity with the test." Another report agreed that SAT/ACT prep courses were a waste of money and that taking a few practice exams, and understanding how each test works, was all that was needed.
Standardized admissions tests
In 2003, according to one estimate, 1.4 million students took the SAT and 1.4 million also took the ACT test, paying about $50 per test. Generally counselors suggest that students should plan on taking the SAT or ACT test twice, so that a low score can possibly be improved. One advisor suggested that students with weak SAT or ACT scores could consider applying to colleges where these measures were optional. One suggested retaking the tests if there are "subpar test scores" in September and October (if applying early admission) or November and December (if applying regular admission.) Generally over half of eleventh graders retaking the SAT or ACT tests during the twelfth grade saw improvements in their scores. Colleges vary in terms of how much emphasis they place on these scores.
A consensus view is that most colleges accept either the SAT or ACT, and have formulas for converting scores into admissions criteria, and can convert SAT scores into ACT scores and vice versa relatively easily. The ACT is reportedly more popular in the midwest and south while the SAT is more popular on the east and west coasts.
|ACT test||SAT test|
|Content-based test||Tests reasoning ability|
|Emphasizes higher math||Emphasizes vocabulary|
|Longer questions||Trickier questions|
|More popular in south & midwest||More popular in east & west|
|Science reasoning section||Vocabulary section|
|No penalty for wrong answers||No penalty for wrong answers|
|Greater choice in selecting which scores to send to colleges||Fewer options|
|Difficult questions randomly interspersed||Difficulty progresses within each section|
Regarding whether to choose the SAT or ACT, the consensus view is that both tests are roughly equivalent and tend to bring similar results, and that each test is equally accepted by colleges. Reporter Jacques Steinberg in The New York Times suggested that admissions deans repeatedly inform him that colleges view the ACT and SAT tests equally and do not have a preference. At the same time, small differences between the tests may translate into a slight benefit for the test-taker. One report suggested that the SAT favors "white male students" from upper income backgrounds. Another report suggests that the ACT has more questions geared to higher levels of high school mathematics, suggesting that students who do well in math may perform better, but that the SAT is a better choice for students with an excellent vocabulary. According to one view, the SAT is more focused on testing reasoning ability while the ACT is more of a content-based test of achievement. In addition, according to this view, some SAT questions can be trickier and harder to decipher while some ACT questions may be longer; question difficulty progresses within each SAT section while difficult questions are randomly interspersed in the ACT; the SAT has a separate vocabulary section while the ACT has a separate science reasoning section. In 2016 the SAT was updated to remove the penalty for random guessing; the College Board advises that test-takers will benefit by guessing.
SAT Subject Tests
Many colleges require, recommend, or consider SAT Subject Tests in the admissions process. One described them as "true equalizers" in admissions, suggesting how strong a high school is, and elaborated that some admissions officers consider them to be a better indicator of academic ability than high school grades. Another suggested that selective colleges emphasize SAT Subject Tests, while public colleges place less emphasis on them. The SAT Subject Tests were discontinued by the college board at the beginning of 2021.
Advanced placement tests
There was a report that scores on Advanced Placement exams could be helpful in the evaluations process. One report suggested there was a limit on the number of AP tests that should be taken, such that taking 12 AP tests was not as helpful as taking five and doing well on those five.
There are differing recommendations about the importance of interviews, with the consensus view that interviews were overall less important than college admissions essays, but should be done if they were offered. One advisor suggested that visits by college admissions personnel to the high schools were a waste of time for colleges, since there was not enough time to get to know specific applicants. In addition, she felt that personal interviews were generally overrated, though she noted that many Ivies have alumni interviews, which can help in borderline situations. One counselor suggested that if an interview was offered by a college admissions program, then it was not really optional but it should be seen as a requirement, that is, not going to such an interview could be detrimental to a student's chances for admission. Another suggested that a student should try to get an interview, even if it was not required, since it might help "exhibit character strengths" that might not show up via grades on high school transcripts. Several reports noted that most Ivy League schools have abandoned the interview requirement, but that if there is an opportunity for an interview, even with an alumnus of the college, then it is a good idea to do it since not doing it signals a lack of interest in the school. Knowing a college can be helpful during an interview, so that an applicant can say something specific about the school, or a professor who teaches there, or a subject or internship opportunities, since it shows sincere interest. Interviews (if offered) may be more of a factor at small liberal arts colleges:
Our advice is that if offered an interview, a student should take it ... And they should dress as if they are going to dinner with their grandparents. The biggest faux pax comes in inappropriate dress for both sexes. Spaghetti straps, buttons that pop open. For boys a rumpled T-shirt ... If you look in the mirror and you think you look good, change your clothes. This is not a date.— Mamlet and VanDeVelde
One suggested that a goal of interview preparation should be to present oneself as "comfortable with spontaneous conversation" and be able to talk about interests without sounding like the answers were prepared in advance, and suggested it was important to show intellectual passion and a love of learning with a deep excitement, and show "social maturity" with sensitivity, empathy for others unlike oneself, and concern for issues larger than personal career ambitions. An applicant should have an attitude that was not be what can the college offer but what can the student offer the college, and he or she should avoid asking questions about facts better answered elsewhere, and show an openness to new ideas, an ability to work cooperatively with others, ambition, and caring about others. Interviewees should be ready for sometimes provocative questions to test social sensitivity; if an interviewer asks a "baiting or leading question," an applicant should respond by laughing while politely disagreeing with the perspective, and to keep trying to enjoy the conversation with the interviewer. Another advisor suggested that students must be prepared to answer the question What is your biggest failure in an interview. Applicants should avoid sounding snide, annoyed, contemptuous, and avoid describing oneself as humiliated, bored, depressed, angry, shy, inhibited, anxious, frightened, and frustrated, and should be upbeat but avoid going for the hard sell. Another report suggested that shy or timid applicants were at a disadvantage. Another advisor suggested that a student try to find a common bond with the interviewer, and send a brief follow-up letter afterwards.
There are differing opinions about the importance of the college essay. The consensus view is that the essay is less important than grades and test scores, but that an essay can make a difference in some instances, often at highly selective colleges where they can "make or break your application." There was one report that essays were becoming more important as a way to judge a student's potential and that essays have supplanted personal interviews as a primary way to evaluate a student's character.
The Common Application requires that personal statements be 250 to 650 words in length. Although applicants may strive to reach the word limit, college admissions officers emphasize that the most important part is honing and rewriting:
Writing is easy; rewriting is hard. And essays deserve to be rewritten several times. Lots of kids think the objective is to write about something that will impress the admission office. In part that is true, but what impresses an admission officer is an essay that conveys something positive about the applicant; that allows the committee to get to know the kid just a bit from those few pieces of paper. The essay is an opportunity to provide a different perspective about the applicant, a reason to accept a kid. It is an opportunity not to be wasted.
Advisors suggest that the essay should be concise, honest (with no embellishments), coherent, not boring, accurate, and visually evocative. The essay should reveal a likeable and intelligent individual. It should approach humor and controversial topics with caution and balance. Other tips include avoiding jargon or abbreviations, overly emotional appeals, profanity or texttalk (example: Schools H8 2 C texttalk), or artiness (e.g. poetry in an application) or cockiness.
Former guidance counselor for students at Andover and college admissions authority Donald Dunbar suggested that essays must emphasize personal character and demonstrate intellectual curiosity, maturity, social conscience, concern for the community, tolerance, and inclusiveness. He advises to not merely "be yourself," but show your "best self." Dunbar furthermore claims that demonstrating class participation suggests a "willingness to go beyond selfishness" and shows enthusiasm for learning. Alan Gelb suggests that the only "no-no" is "shameless self-promotion." Topics to avoid[according to whom?] include babysitting experiences, pets, encounters with illegal drugs or alcohol or criminal activity, excuses to explain a low grade, stories about a former home or big brother or sister, a simple listing of achievements, expressing thanks for being chosen as a leader, talking about a "wilderness leadership course," general complaining or whining, racism or sexism or disrespect for groups of people, bad taste or profanity or vulgarity or bathroom humor, early love or sex experiences, criticism or disrespect for parents, telling only jokes, excessive bragging or too many instances of the "I" pronoun, personal health information about yourself or a friend or a family member, and copy-and-pasting a term paper in the essay form such as about global warming or the European debt crisis. Applicants should refrain from express opinions too strongly as if no counterviews were possible. The topic should be something the applicant cares about, and should show leadership in the sense of "asserting yourself to help others have more success." According to Dunbar, leadership is not necessarily about being in charge such as being the team captain or school president. Applicants should present a broad perspective and avoid simplistic words such as never, always, only, or nobody, which suggest narrow thinking. Dunbar advised against the standard "tell 'em what you've told 'em" essay formula but doing something different, interesting, and exciting.
Former admissions director Michele Hernandez agreed, and suggested that the best essay topics were a slice-of-life story with poignant details, in which the writer shows and does not tell. She suggested that a student show their essay to a literate friend and ask if would they admit this person to the college. She recommended that applicants not try to come across as a "preppy well-off kid" but downplay parental status. Advisors Mamlet and VanDeVelde suggest that students proactively try to explain an unusual grade, such as a low grade in a core course. There are online databases available to help students write cogent essays.
Many colleges ask for teacher recommendations, typically from eleventh or twelfth grade teachers of core courses who know the student well. A counselor recommendation is often requested as well. One report suggested that having more than four recommendations was a mistake, as a "thick file" indicated a "thick student" to admissions personnel. Teacher recommendations are becoming less important as a rating measure, according to one report. In addition, a few colleges are asking for recommendation letters from parents to describe their child:
You might think they do nothing but brag ... But parents really nail their kids. They really get to the essence of what their daughter is about in a way we can't get anywhere else.— Deb Shaver, director of admissions at Smith College
Advisors counsel that applicants should meet deadlines, spend time researching colleges, be open-minded, have fun, communicate what "resonates" to the applicant about a particular school, not fall in love with one or two colleges, follow directions precisely and make sure to click the "submit" button. Rudeness towards staff members, feigning enthusiasm, and being pretentious are other turnoffs reported by admissions officers. There is strong consensus among counselors and advisors that starting the college search early is vital. One recommends starting early in the twelfth grade; another suggests that even this is too late, and that the process should begin during the eleventh grade and summer before twelfth grade. And sources suggest that students who begin the process earlier tend to earn more acceptance letters. Another advantage of beginning early is so that applications can be proofread for mistakes. Advisors suggest that emails should be sent to specific persons in the admissions office, not to a generalized inbox. Advisors suggest that applicants sending in paper applications should take care that handwriting is legible, particularly email addresses. Advisors counsel that mistakes or changes should be explained somewhere in the application; for example, an adviser at Grinnell College suggested that a record need not be perfect but there must be an "explanation for any significant blip." Advisors suggest that applicants should "own up to any bad behavior" such as suspensions since schools are "dutybound to report them," and suggest that a person should "accept responsibility and show contrition for "lessons learned," according to one view. Disciplinary actions are usually reported to the colleges by the high school as a matter of course. Advisors suggest that the application should help a student position themselves to create a unique picture. It helps, according to one advisor, if a person knows himself or herself, because that enables an applicant to communicate effectively with a prospective school. A report in The New York Times in 2016 suggested that some universities were considering changing their admissions guidelines to be more inclusive of less affluent applicants, to put less emphasis on standardized test and AP scores, and to put more emphasis on determining "which students' community-service projects are heartfelt and which are merely window dressing"; the report suggested that college admissions policies were often "cited as a culprit in sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression among students."
International students form a large and growing percentage of applicants to American universities. According to Andover counseling director Sean Logan, applications to American universities from foreign students have increased dramatically in the past decade. International applications are typically similar to domestic ones but with additional complications. Most international applicants do not receive a GPA score or transcript from their school. Most will not normally take SAT or ACT exams, so these must be arranged. Most American universities are happy to accept international qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate and A Levels, although it is often up to the applicant to elaborate on the meaning of these qualifications. Non-native English speakers may be asked to provide English language qualifications such as TOEFL or IELTS scores. If a university requires or offers an interview, these can normally be conducted over the phone or with alumni residing in the applicant's country. International applicants often must cope with higher tuition fees and less available financial aid, although this varies significantly by college. Further, international applicants must also apply for a student visa, which can be a complex and time-consuming process.
College admissions officers are generally looking to build a well-rounded class and look for students who will complement each other. Consequently, many schools are looking for students who are passionate and excel at particular things, and candidates who fulfill certain institutional needs rather than a "well-rounded kid."
Colleges are looking for ... the well-rounded class. Colleges put together their entering class as a mosaic: a few great scholars for each academic department; a handful of athletes; some musicians, dancers, and theater stars; a few for racial and economic diversity; some potential club leaders, etc. Colleges want a kid who is devoted to – and excels at – something. The word they most often use is passion.— Steve Cohen in The Washington Post, 2011
Colleges want students who have demonstrated through their actions an ability to see and connect with a world that is larger than they are.— Robin Mamlet and Christine Vandevelde, 2011
Institutional needs include athletics and music as well as geographical, cultural, racial, and socioeconomic diversity (Pell Grant recipients, first-generation students).
Some schools, particularly public universities, will use admissions criteria which are almost entirely formulaic in certain aspects of admission. For example, they may be required by statute to admit a minimum number of in-state students, or to guarantee admission to students graduating the top 6% of their high school class, or to guarantee admission to valedictorians. Many admits, however, are made on the basis of subjective judgments regarding the student's "fit" for the institution.
Admissions offices must read through thousands of applications, each of which include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and the application itself. In 2009, the average admissions officer was responsible for analyzing 514 applications, and officers have experienced an upward trend in the number of applications they must read over time. A typical college application receives only about 25 minutes of reading time, including three to five minutes for the personal essay if it is read.
Larger admissions offices will have specialists assigned to cover different regions, and individual officers may act liaison for a regional set of high schools developing a deep understanding of their curriculum and rigor. The reading and preliminary admit / deny decision may be divided up into committees of readers, and borderline candidates are then discussed more collectively. Some admissions offices use a scoring system in an effort to normalize the many applicants. Criteria include standardized test scores (generally ACT and/or SAT), college prep courses, grades (as shown in the high school transcript), strength of curriculum, class rank, degree of extracurricular involvement, and leadership potential. A combination of these can be used to derive an academic index. For example, at Dartmouth College, data goes into a master card for each application, which leads to a ready sheet, where readers summarize applications; then, an initial screening is done: top applications go directly to the director of admissions for approval while lackluster ones go to another director. Dartmouth uses "A" for accept, "R" for reject, "P" for possible, with "P+" and "P-" being variants. A committee might spend a week with the "P" ones, of which they only accept about a sixth.
Many colleges also rely on personal essay(s) written by the applicant and letters of recommendation written by the applicant's teachers and guidance counselor. One principal benefit of the essay lies in its ability to further differentiate students who have perfect or near-perfect grades and test scores. Institutions place different weight on these criteria: for example, "test optional" schools do not require or even accept the SATs for admission. Some factors are beyond a student's control, such as a college's need in a given year for diversity, legacy applicants, or athletic recruiting.
Some colleges hire statistical experts known as "enrollment consultants" to help them predict enrollment by developing computer models to select applicants in such a way as to maximize yield and acceptance rates. Some of these models take into account factors such as an applicant's "zip code, religion, first-choice major and extracurricular interests, as well as academic performance." Some colleges extract information from the federal FAFSA financial aid form, including names of other schools the applicant is applying to.
High school grades, rigor of curriculum, and college prep courses
High school academic performance is generally the single most important factor in winning admission. Maintaining high grades is particularly important for the fall semester of twelfth grade. Academic performance in core courses is especially important. An ideal academic record is one of increasingly better grades in courses of progressive difficulty. Ninth grade grades generally do not count much, but trends are important—an upward trend in grades was a positive factor, a decline a negative one. Public universities are more likely to evaluate applicants based on grades and test scores alone, while private universities tend to be more "holistic" and consider other measures.
Colleges also evaluate applicants by examining how a student has successfully exploited what a high school has had to offer. The strongest candidates will have been challenged by the most demanding courses their school has to offer . Where AP courses are offered, having a high grade point average based on good grades in AP-level or honors courses will be looked upon favorably, but dropping a hard course will be seen negatively.
The college admissions office usually will know schools well enough to understand that not all schools offer AP-level courses so candidates from those schools are not put at a disadvantage. On the other hand, the admissions office will have a high school profile and takes into account such data as curriculum offerings, demographics, and grade distributions at the high school.
ACT and SAT scores
These are read in conjunction with the high school academic record, but their importance varies from school to school. Some schools are test-optional where applicants do not need to submit scores. Schools typically release information on the range of scores from their candidate pool as well as accepted student pool to make applicants aware of their student profile. Some schools will consider superscore results or superscoring when an applicant has taken the SAT multiple times by combining the highest score from different test subsections, although superscoring is rarely done for the ACT  because of difficulty processing five separate rounded numbers.
This can be an important factor in some situations, sometimes a "driving factor," since a college may be more likely to say yes to a student likely to matriculate. Accordingly, it has been advised to become knowledgeable about schools being applied to, and "tailor each application accordingly." College visits (including overnight ones), interviews, attending College Fair days, comments in the essay, contacting college faculty members, answering and opening emails, place position of the college on the FAFSA form or its FAFSA position, and other indications of interest can be a factor for many colleges concerned about their yield—the percent of students who accept an offer of enrollment. According to Andover's college counseling director Sean Logan, it is important to have numerous contact points with colleges to show demonstrated interest: visiting, phone contact, emailing, visits to websites (including number of clicks as well as length of time on the website), whether a college visit included a tour and interview, and whether a college-recommended off-campus personal interview was done. Schools such as Connecticut College and Emory University have been credited as "popularizing the yield game" by refusing well-qualified students who failed to show much real interest in attending, as a way to boost their yield scores. One top high school student was waitlisted at a "likely" college for showing lack of interest:
We assumed they weren't coming, because we didn't have much contact from them. We know they're probably using us as a back-up and they haven't done much to show any sincere interest, so we decided to waitlist them.— Andover college counseling director Sean Logan, remembering a comment from a college admissions director.
One report suggested that colleges seek students who will be actively involved on campus and not spend every day studying alone. As a result, they look recommendations from teachers that suggest active participation.
Weeding out difficult people
Admissions officers often try to screen out difficult people. According to Dunbar, many colleges are "afraid of aggression." He recommends avoiding "harsh humor" and signs of severe emotion, anger, or aggression. Admissions evaluators look for signals that might indicate a difficult person, such as disrespectful criticisms of others and evidence of substance abuse.
Analysis of essays
Michele Hernandez suggested that almost all admissions essays were weak, cliche-ridden, and "not worth reading." The staff gets thousands of essays and has to wade through most of them. When she worked as an admissions director at Dartmouth, she noticed that most essays were only read for three minutes. Some too-common essay types were the "outward bound" essay about how a person discovered their inner grit while hiking tough mountains or the "community service" essay about how a student discovered, while working among disadvantaged peoples, that "all persons were the same." Admissions officers seek to learn how a person thinks, what kind of person they are, and their level of intellectual promise.
القبول والرفض وقوائم الانتظار
Regular decision applicants are notified usually in the last two weeks of March, and early decision or early action applicants are notified near the end of December (but early decision II notifications tend to be in February). The notification of the school's decision is either an admit, deny (reject), waitlist, or defer. Notifications as an online status update are becoming more common, although a few schools still send notifications by email or regular mail (in which case a "fat" envelope is usually an acceptance whereas a "thin" envelope is usually a rejection or waitlist).
Letters of admission typically require the admitted student to maintain good grades and good conduct before matriculation. Teachers and college counselors of seniors advise students against "senioritis." Schools do rescind admission if students have been dishonest in their application, have conducted themselves in a way deemed to be inconsistent with the values of the school, or do not heed warnings of poor academic performance; for example, one hundred high school applicants accepted to Texas Christian University, whose grades plummeted in the spring of their twelfth grade as a symptom of senioritis, received so-called "fear of God" letters from an admissions dean asking them to explain themselves and threatening to rescind offers of admission.
Admitted students may also be awarded financial aid and notification of this is made around the same time. Students who are dissatisfied with an aid offer can appeal for the offer to be improved.
International students who have been accepted will need to complete the necessary paperwork for visas (such as an I-20 form).
Rejection letters from most schools will mention that there is no appeal process but many schools, especially public universities such as the University of California have a formal appeal process requiring "new and compelling" information from the appellant.
Wait list considerations
About half of schools use a wait list, particularly those that accept fewer than half of all applications. Schools use the wait list as an enrollment management tool because they are uncertain how many of their original admits will enroll, but the exact implementation varies widely among colleges. Some schools put a large number onto the wait list (relative to the class enrollment size) even though this puts many wait-listed students in "limbo" and gives most of them only false hope, the "basic equivalent of purgatory." With a class size of only around 2,500, Penn put 3,535 applicants on its wait list for the Class of 2022 (of whom 2,327 remained on the wait list) but accepted only 9. In the same year, Tulane put over 10,000 applicants on its wait list but admitted only 2. By contrast, the University of Oregon with a class size of 4,000 offered wait list status to only 264 and admitted 69 of them. However, many schools do lose a small number of admitted students due to a phenomenon sometimes called summer melt: students, even those have sent in a deposit, will not show up in the fall, and this "melt percentage" can be as high as 5% to 10% of persons who have paid a deposit.
The admission process is a complicated dance of supply and demand for colleges. And this spring, many institutions have accepted fewer applicants, and placed more on waiting lists, until it becomes clear over the next few weeks how many spots remain.— Jacques Steinberg in The New York Times, April 2010
|College||Wait list |
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|Cal Poly SLO||3168||15||6643||2436|
|UC Santa Barbara||6650||960||7856||14|
While most college admissions involves high school students applying to colleges, transfer admissions are important as well. Estimates of the percentage of college students who transfer vary from 20% to 33% to 60%, with the consensus position being around a third of college students transfer, and there are many indications that transfer activity is increasing. One report suggested that nearly half of all undergraduates in the nation were attending community colleges. Media coverage of student transfers is generally less than coverage of the high school to college transition. A common transfer path is students moving from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions, although there is considerable movement between four-year institutions. Reasons for transferring include unhappiness with campus life, cost, and course and degree selection. There are no consistent national rules for transfers, and requirements vary by college. Many community colleges have articulation agreements with four-year schools, particularly flagship state universities, so that matters such as the transfers of credits are handled appropriately. There are indications that many private colleges are more actively seeking transfer applicants. Still, transferring can be difficult; transfer students have been described in the past as "academic nomads."
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One of the perverse aspects about the rankings is that turning out thoughtful, articulate young men and women, who can write cogently and think critically won't budge a school's ranking up even one spot.
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Rankings Perversion – ... US News & World Report's college rankings doesn't ... bestow demerits for being unaffordable. ...
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... The annual rankings of undergraduate colleges and universities by U.S. News and World Report generate negative opinions among professionals who work most closely with students and families ...
- Note: this "reputation survey" makes up 25% of the ranking.
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- Excludes military academies and small specialized schools - Caltech, Olin College, Cooper Union, Babson University, Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School.
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... Discounting in higher education began in the 1970s, as college admissions officers copied the pricing systems used by airlines and other businesses. The approach of charging as much as people would pay was novel in the academy. ....
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While community college tuition posted a sharp 8.7% gain, it's still a bargain: only about $3,000 a year for full-time tuition.
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2012 edition; various authors and rankings; pages 19, 20, 30, 62, 63, 68–70, 78, 84, 86, 88, othersCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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- Note: there are impostor websites similar to the official government website, sometimes asking for fees; the official FAFSA website is free; see FAFSA for further information
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- Note: SAT updated in 2016
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... If two applicants appeared academically equivalent on paper and both were interviewing at a top tier school, the gregarious, self-confident candidate would most likely be perceived more favorably than the timid and self-conscious one ...CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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For your college admissions essay, you will be asked to write 500 flawless words ... As far as I'm concerned, the only taboo is shameless self-promotion.
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- For example: "I did this, I did that, then I did this" and on and on ...
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- Hernandez 2009, pp. 110–111.
- Unigo.com, Author (July 13, 2018). "10 colleges that don't require SAT or ACT scores". Unigo.com. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
- Daniel Golden (May 29, 2001). "Glass Floor: Colleges Reject Top Applicants, Accepting Only the Students Likely to Enroll". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- Mamlet 2011, p. 57.
- Mamlet 2011, p. 53.
- Hernandez 2009, p. 146.
- Mamlet 2011, p. 13.
- Mamlet 2011, p. 41.
- Note: quoting William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Harvard University.
- Hernandez 2009, p. 139.
- Peter Van Buskirk (June 9, 2010). "9 Testing Tips for College Applicants". US News. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
... Keep the "superscore" in mind: At most colleges, admissions officers look at the best combination of scores.
- Devon Keefe (August 17, 2009). "Develop a Testing Strategy.(Kaplan)(presenting SAT Reasoning Test scores for college application)". Newsweek via Questia Online Library. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
Even many schools that have "opted out" of Score Choice have suggested that they will continue to "super score" students' test scores (i.e., take the highest sectional score from each test and combine them).
- Valerie Strauss (June 9, 2010). "Do colleges superscore ACT and SAT equally?". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
... most schools superscore both the ACT and the SAT. While many schools do, many more do so for the SAT than the ACT.
- Daniel de Vise (February 8, 2012). "College, Inc". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
Not many superscore the ACT, because they'd have to work with five separate numbers, including a composite that often has been rounded up or rounded down ...
- Mamlet 2011, p. 121.
- Note: colleges can tell whether emails are opened or not by a prospective student.
- Note: admissions officers can see all colleges applied to that are listed on the FAFSA form, and there are reports that some colleges interpret being first or second on the FAFSA list as a sign of demonstrated interest
- Note: "likely" meant there was an estimated 80% chance of acceptance by the college
- Dunbar 2007, p. 55.
- Dunbar 2007, pp. 56, 57.
- Dunbar 2007, pp. 69–82.
- An admissions staffer at Gettysburg College (who requested to remain anonymous) agreed most application essays were boring.
- Hernandez 2009, pp. 130–131.
- Data sourced from Common Data Set published by colleges for Fall 2018 admission (2018-2019) or college news releases and student publications
- Regular decision
- "Georgetown moves to expel two students in aftermath of ..." Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Yale rescinds admission of a student whose family paid $1.2 million to get her in". Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Stanford expels student admitted with falsified sailing credentials". www.stanforddaily.com. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Harvard rescinded admission for racist comments. It wasn't the first time". www.cnn.com. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Harvard Rescinds Acceptances for At Least Ten Students for Obscene Memes". Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Tanya Caldwell (June 18, 2012). "University Sends 'Fear of God' Letter to Students With Senioritis". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
College-bound seniors beware: ... failing grades ... your university may soon threaten to rescind your admission ...
- "On College: Think hard and rationally before appealing a UC school's denial of admission". Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Admissions Decision Appeal". admissions.wvu.edu. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Note: figure for Fall 2010 admission cycle was 48% of colleges using wait lists.
- Jacques Steinberg (April 13, 2010). "For Students, a Waiting List Is Scant Hope". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- Lynn O'Shaughnessy (April 9, 2010). "Getting Off a College Wait List: 5 Things to Do Now". CBS News. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- Zach Miners (April 9, 2010). "You've Been Put on the Wait List for College. Now What?". US News. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "University of Pennsylvania Common Data Set 2018-19" (PDF). Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Tulane Common Data Set 2018-19". Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "University of Oregon Common Data Set 2018-19" (PDF). Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Scott Jaschik (April 4, 2011). "The Other 'Summer Melt' in Admissions". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- Scott Jaschik; Kevin Kiley (May 5, 2011). "Private colleges try to round out fall's enrollment into summer". USA Today. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- Note: wait list admits are the number of students initially put on the wait list, who were eventually offered admission and who accepted this offer.
- David Moltz (February 18, 2010). "More private colleges court community college transfers". USA Today. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
- Lynn O'Shaughnessy (November 16, 2010). "Transfer Students: 8 Things You Need to Know". US News. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Bill Schackner (March 28, 2012). "Transfers a hot commodity for colleges". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Roman, Marcia A. (January 1, 2007). "Community College Admission and Student Retention". Journal of College Admission (via Highbeam Research). Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
Community colleges enroll nearly half the undergraduates in the U.S.
- Kim Clark (January 16, 2009). "Obama's Lessons for Transfer Students: His former roommate talks about what he and Obama learned about switching between colleges". US News. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Allen Millett; Leslie Goldberg (1999). "E-Campus Discussion Lounge". Washington Post. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
- Tim Barker (February 5, 2012). "Meet the transfers – they are academic nomads: Schools, government seek to streamline system to help more students make switch to four-year colleges, keep credit hours they have earned". St. Louis Today. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
- Coates, Ken; Morrison, Bill (2015). What to Consider If You're Considering College: New Rules for Education and Employment. Dundurn. ISBN 978-1459723726.
- Dunbar, Donald (2007). What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College. Gotham Books. ISBN 978-1-59240-302-8.
- Hernandez, Michele A. (2009). A is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0-446-54067-4.
- Mamlet, Robin; Vandevelde, Christine (2011). College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-307-59032-9.
- Estimated college cost calculator hosted by the College Board
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