Updated: Apr 6, 2022
In a world where 'highly selective' colleges have been rebranded as 'highly rejective' colleges, it is no surprise that the admissions outcomes in 2022 have broken previous records. The most coveted institutions in the country have seen application numbers skyrocket and acceptance rates plummet, yet again.
Case in point:
In the absence of testing requirements, the inability to physically visit college campuses, and the unpredictability of college admission outcomes, students applied to colleges in droves. The common app reported that for its 853 member colleges, the total application volume in 2021-22 rose by 21.3% compared to 2019–20 (2020 was an anomalous year due to the pandemic). And last week, CNN ran a story of a high school senior from Georgia who applied to 51 colleges.
The purpose of sharing these updates is not to overwhelm families or to cause anxiety. Quite the opposite, in fact. The objective is to encourage students to plan their time in high school intelligently so that they don't find themselves scrambling with anxiety and randomly applying to colleges at the last moment. Instead of spraying and praying, it is wiser to invest in building a solid academic and extracurricular foundation during the formative years of high school and then creating a thoughtful college shortlist. These steps are critical to managing anxiety in senior year. For instance, if business is your intended major, challenge yourself with math courses over your four years of high school; if computer science is your goal, uplevel your coding and problem-solving skills; and if nursing is your dream, step out of your comfort zone and into a health care setting where you can get hands-on experience caring for patients.
As far as possible, don't wait until senior year to begin planning for college; start early and plan wisely. You will be grateful you did.