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4 Important Trends in College Applications 2021-22

See how college admission policies are changing post-COVID.

COVID-19 has impacted major sectors of the economy, and the education sector is no exception. As a result, the college enrollment rate post-Covid has become unpredictable. In this article, we break down four of the most important trends in college applications this year, and what you need to know about college policies as some sense of normalcy emerges.

College Applications to Prestigious Universities are Higher than Before, Driving Down Acceptance Rates

Top public institutions are now receiving more applications than pre-Covid, but acceptance rates are dropping. In addition, due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, more universities are offering test-optional applications, which compels many to try their luck.

However, test-optional applications are just one of the factors that have caused a surge in university applications. The scarcity of jobs during Covid has inspired more people to pursue further education to bolster their job search. Higher learning institutions are also seeking to increase the diversity of students, which attests to the increase in the number of applicants from the first generation, minority groups, and international students.

Applications to Second Tier Universities are Dropping

Unlike the upward trend in applications for prestigious schools, students' applications for second-tier public and private colleges for undergraduate courses have dropped significantly.

Schools such as Cal Poly, Pomona and Portland State have received fewer applications in the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. However, enrollment for graduate courses is at an all-time high. The pandemic has been favorable to graduate enrollment as more students are trying to update their skills, or have found time to pursue further education following job losses.

These trends solidify the need for a powerful extracurricular profile for both undergrad and grad-school admissions.

More in-person Instruction is Expected

More schools expect to return to in-person learning before the fall of 2021 because the pandemic is slowing down. So, restrictions on education policies are expected to be lifted.

Online classes are expected to continue, but universities are looking into learning primarily through in-person classes. Covid19 rules and regulations such as wearing masks, social distancing, and maintaining hygiene will remain in place even as schools reopen.

Therefore, such a return to some form of normalcy will prompt more students to apply for college admissions. This is likely to result in a surge of applications from deferred/gap-year candidates.

Changes in Testing Policies

Test optional college applications may remain or be scrapped. Although most schools opted for test-optional policies due to Covid, some like NYU have always had this policy even pre-Covid. But it is uncertain whether this testing policy will remain in the long run.

Therefore, you must stay on top of the latest trends of your university's testing policies by checking their admissions portal, reading all their emails, and consulting with the admissions counselors.

Taking tests can indeed improve your chances of acceptance compared to students who do not take them. Submitting test scores also opens you up to significant scholarship opportunities.

Building your Child's Profile is Key

Changes in college applications trends for 2021-22 point to one singular fact: with admissions becoming increasingly competitive and the weightage on SAT/ACT reduced, building a strong profile is key to a successful application. We offer a highly personalized one-to-one mentorship programme to students in Grade 8-12 by working with a select cohort of 10 students per grade. Our purpose with is to select a miniscule cohort of applicants, give them an individualised experience, and help them develop a distinctive, powerful profile for college applications.

Since our intake is limited, please drop us a message on WhatsApp (‭+91 96194 58430‬) or email ( to inquire about our availibility for your child. Our engagement officer will then guide you forward with the process.

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