Minority Applicants Rise Dramatically in the Common App | This Week in Admissions News

22/08/20224 minute read
Minority Applicants Rise Dramatically in the Common App | This Week in Admissions News

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week more details emerged on the rise in minority applicants for the Common Application in the United States - the numbers are up 138% over the last eight years. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!

Minority Applicants Rise Dramatically Over Eight Years for the Common App in the United States

The number of minority applicants has risen by 131% over the last eight years for the Common Application in the United States, according to Inside Higher Ed. The overall growth of applications over the same period increased by 72%. The number of underrepresented minority applicants reached 337,904 over the last eight years - of these Black applicants were up 138% and Latino applicants were up 129%.

In the last 10 years, the Common App has changed some policies to make the application more inclusive. In 1975, the Common App was created among a small group of liberal arts colleges and now has more than 1,000 member institutions, adding many flagship institutions (and other public universities), as well as historically Black colleges. In 2014, it changed its rules so a college can be a member even if it admits students solely on their grades and test scores, as some historically Black colleges do.

“Common App has transformed its membership over the past decade, as we have detailed in previous research,” the organization said in a recently published report. “Our analyses indicate that this transformation is very closely associated with a dramatic shift in the population of students using the platform. In addition to its efforts to reduce complexity and burden in the application process, and to pilot various interventions to eliminate barriers in the application process, Common App considers its membership expansion strategy central to its mission to expand access and equity in college admissions.”

President and CEO of Common App, Jenny Rickard, believes the increase can be attributed to the move by some Common App members away from holistic admissions. Data analysts at Common App say there is no one reason for the increase in numbers and a number of policy changes have helped more minorities apply. The uptick is also good news for colleges as they will have access to applicants who historically might have only applied to one university.

The report further revealed a general increase in applicants. White applicants reached 569,836 (up 48%); Asian applicants hit 115,453 (up 71%); first-generation students were up 90% compared to continuing-generation students (up 65%). There was a greater growth among those who requested fee waivers (up 110%) than those who didn’t (up 63%). Further, the Common App saw the most growth in the more racially diverse Southern states (up 169%) and the least growth in New England (up only 8%).

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. The Guardian writes economically disadvantaged students could face “new obstacles” as applicants are made to sit the tests two weeks earlier to some of Oxford’s and Cambridge’s most competitive colleges. Some fear that giving students just a few weeks after returning from their summer holidays to apply for these ultra-competitive universities could mean students at state schools not focused on sending students to Oxbridge will “miss the boat.” Students usually have to start preparing to submit their UCAS applications by October 15 instead of the usual January 25 deadline if they are aiming for Oxbridge admissions. This year, however, Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (Caat), which runs admissions tests for some of the most popular courses at both universities, has brought forward the date to register for its tests by two weeks to the end of September.
  2. More than 125 colleges in the United States, including all eight Ivy League universities, are falling behind on their goal to enroll more lower income students, the Wall Street Journal reported. As part of the American Talent Initiative, a program established in 2016, many schools including University of Michigan and University of Texas at Austin, aimed to increase the number of lower-income students by 50,000 by 2025. However, between 2015 and 2021, they have just added 7,713 such students. The Covid pandemic wiped out some of the earlier gains made by universities. The Initiative resulted in major investments in recruiting, financial aid, and academic support to increase student numbers. 
  3. The Western Australian state government will pay some AUS$10 million to education agents who enroll foreign students in the region’s institutions over the next year, as part of a multi-million dollar investment in the state’s international education sector, The PIE News reported. The region allocated $41.2m to help the education sector recover from the pandemic. The latest measures to attract international students to the region include subsidizing accommodation costs and launching an agent incentive scheme. Under the new program, agents could earn $500 per student enrolled in a school, English language, or vocational course, and $1,000 per student enrolled in one of the state’s five universities.
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