Navigating the Current Admissions Landscape with Insights from Admission Directors

October 16, 2023

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Title: 2023 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors

Author: Doug Lederman

Source: Inside Higher Ed and Hanover Research

According to Inside Higher Ed’s 2023 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors (conducted in conjunction with Hanover Research), less than half of institutions met new student enrollment goals by May 1, and only 21 percent of those missing targets then met them by June 1.

Most admissions officers indicated in the survey that they will increase recruitment efforts for transfer students, minority students, full-time undergraduates, and first-generation college students in 2023-24, while part-time undergraduates are a lower recruitment priority. Just three percent of institutions now require ACT or SAT scores when applying, while more than two in five respondents (44 percent) indicate their institution has recently shifted to test-optional or test-blind policies. Of those institutions, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents said they admitted more minority applicants after making this change. Impacts on financial aid needs were mixed—nearly half (49 percent) of admissions officers saw an increase in students requiring aid after going test-optional or test-blind.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Only 14 percent of admissions officers say their institutions give legacy applicants any admissions preference, while 50 percent oppose legacy preferences.
  • One-third of admissions officers support dropping recommendation letters, while 30 percent oppose that idea.
  • Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action, three in four respondents believe their institution will maintain current diversity among students.
  • Only five percent of admissions officers expect their institution to admit more transfer students in response to the Supreme Court decision.
  • About two in three (67 percent) admissions officers see little potential for essays and interviews to increase diversity given legal constraints.
  • Less than one-fourth of admissions officers are interested in moving to portfolio-based admissions.

This report provides perspective from those on the front lines of college admissions. By gaining their insights and understanding changing admission trends, institutions can better adapt their policies and remain responsive in evolving their recruitment and admissions strategies. This will be critical for serving changing student demographics and ensuring institutional success in the future.

Click here to read the full report.

—Alex Zhao

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