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This Week in Admissions News | Week 13

APR 15, 2021

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students planning to apply to universities, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. We’ve rounded up the latest news and given our take on what it means for future and current college students. Check back each week to see what’s new!

1. A growing number of US universities say they’ll require students to be vaccinated before returning this fall

The list of US colleges that have announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements for students to return to campus in the fall is rapidly growing and many anticipate it will continue to expand. Rutgers University was the first to impose the requirement two weeks ago, and more than a dozen others have since followed suit including Brown, Cornell, Northeastern and the University of Notre Dame. This comes as vaccine availability expands in the US, with all 50 states expected to make vaccines available to anyone above age 16 by April 19.

Crimson’s Take: We know how trying the pandemic has been for college communities whose classes, clubs, events, sports, and even day-to-day activities thrive on the ability for students to congregate. We also know that your time as a university student is short — so we’re encouraged that so many schools are making strides to ensure their students’ college experience isn’t impaired by COVID-19 restrictions for longer than it needs to be. We’re glad to see the cohort of those driving a vaccine agenda for their students is growing, and we hope this trend will continue in the months leading up to the fall semester.

2. Oxbridge colleges have reopened to tourists despite remaining closed to students for in-person learning

Oxford’ Magdalen College and Cambridge’s King’s College have begun promoting tourism this week, encouraging visitors to explore their grounds and outdoor attractions (such as the deer park at Oxford and the wildflower meadow at Cambridge). This news has sparked some controversy among students, however, as both universities plan to keep their doors shuttered to students for at least another month.

Crimson’s Take: We understand why it’s frustrating for Oxbridge students to hear that while they’re stuck at home learning from their laptops, tourists are being welcomed to their universities’ campuses. However, we also recognize that tourism at both campuses is still quite limited — with visitors encouraged to explore outdoor spaces where ample space and fresh air is available — so the associated risks are much lower than the risks of inviting students back to live and learn in indoor settings. Nonetheless we sympathize with Oxbridge students and hope a safe return to their respective campuses will come soon.

3. University of California schools offer insights into their admissions evaluation process in their most competitive year yet

Much like at many other top universities across the US, surging application numbers have led to record-low acceptance rates at several University of California campuses. With many students left disappointed by the admissions decisions they’ve received from UC Campuses like UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA and more, admissions officers have shed some light on the decision-making factors that emerged in a year of “myriad challenges.” Primarily, they noted that “majors matter” — as less popular majors likely have higher admissions rates. Read a more in-depth analysis of the trends UC admissions officers described here.

Crimson’s Take: We know just as well as anyone that this application cycle has been the most cutthroat in history. Acceptance rates at top universities — which include several UC schools — have been slashed due to the simple fact that most colleges cannot accommodate such massive applicant pools given their available class sizes. One trend we’ve stayed ahead of is the importance of demonstrating academic rigor, ambition and resilience, which were identified by UC admissions officers as key traits that set successful applicants apart. We can’t predict what the next admissions cycle will look like in terms of application numbers, but we can confidently say we will continue to help our students highlight these qualities in their college applications to set them up for success.

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