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This Week in Admissions News | Week 26

14 JUL 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 record number of students are set to start university in the UK this fall according to UCAS data

With a drastic increase in application numbers alongside an uptick in offers extended to students from UK universities in the latest admissions round, UCAS has predicted that a record number of students will enrol at UK colleges for the fall. According to UCAS data, as of June 30 (the service’s final application deadline), 6% more applications have been submitted for fall 2021 entry to UK institutions compared with the previous year, and 3% more offers have been extended. 

Crimson’s Take: For many, the latest admissions cycle has been a bit unsettling: application numbers skyrocketed in 2020, meaning acceptance rates at many of the world’s most sought-after universities plummeted because despite an increase in applications, the number of available places remained largely stagnant. This news offers some reassurance to students hoping to pursue an education in the UK as it shows that although universities received massive amounts of applications, they also extended more offers!

2. An open letter to US News & World Report asks the organization to stop considering test scores in university rankings

Eleven groups in the higher education sphere have signed an open letter to US News & World Report calling for it to eliminate average SAT and ACT scores of incoming students from its university ranking process. The letter says the use of test scores as a contributing factor in the “leading college rankings publication” is “preposterous” as the rise in test-blind and test-optional admissions policies in the US “has made it difficult to compare institutions using this metric.”

Crimson’s Take: We understand why some may feel that considering SAT and ACT scores in college rankings is unsuitable with test-optional policies implemented at thousands of universities in 2020 and 2021. However, we also realize that despite these policies, many students still submitted (or plan to submit) their scores anyway; and with statements from several of the most prestigious US unis expressing that they do not plan to adopt permanent test-optional policies, we don’t see the SAT or ACT being eliminated from their application processes anytime soon. Given that test scores are one of the only measurable pieces of data used in such rankings and are a long-standing staple of the admissions process, we stand behind their merit in the US News’ annual ranking process.

3. Rhode Island becomes the first US state where all colleges and universities will require COVID-19 vaccines for returning students

At the end of March, Rutgers University became the first US university to announce a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for returning students — and it took only a month for the list of unis with similar mandates to grow to over 100! Now, that list has surpassed 600 nationwide; but many colleges have still expressed hesitation to implement a vaccine mandate. Nonetheless, Rhode Island this week became the first US state in which every higher education institution — both public and private — will require students to be vaccinated before returning to campus this fall.

Crimson’s Take: For months we’ve applauded unis for announcing vaccine requirements in an effort to provide the safest possible environment for returning staff and students. While we also sympathize with the institutions whose reservations have kept them from mandating vaccinations, we’re thrilled to learn that hundreds of colleges in the US are taking this major step forward in the fight against COVID-19! We know how much students have missed in-person learning and everyday we grow more optimistic that pandemic-related restrictions on college campuses will soon be a thing of the past.

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