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13 Things You Didnt Know About College Admissions

Every year, anxious college-bounders and their parents wonder what to expect from the dreaded college admissions process. Combat fear with facts, like these current trends in college admissions:

1. Colleges accept 65.5 percent of applicants.

So you can chill out a bit, since odds are good that youll get into at least one of your colleges of choice.

2. Online applications are on the rise.

For Fall 2010, four-year colleges and universities received an average of 85 percent of their applications online, up from 80 percent in 2009, 72 percent in 2008, 68 percent in 2007, and 58 percent in 2006.

3. Parents are stepping up their financial game.

According to the College Savings Foundations 2010 State of College Savings, 40 percent of parents (up from 32 percent in 2009) do not expect their children to finance the cost of college.

4. Early action is up; early decision is down.

Only 36 percent of colleges with Early Decision policies reported increases in ED admissions in 2010, while 68 percent of colleges with Early Action policies reported increases in EA admissions.

5. Wait list acceptances are waning.

In 2010, only 28 percent of students were accepted from wait lists, down from 34 percent in 2009.

6. Grades are the most important.

Admission officers identify the top factors in the admission decision as (in order): grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, standardized admission test scores, and overall high school GPA.

7. The most stressful part of the college application process is

... different applications having different requirements, according to students surveyed for Complexity in College Admission, a recent College Board report. The more colleges students applied to, the more stressful the experience was for them.

8. The Common App is on the rise.

About half of students completed a common application form when applying to college, which made the process notably simpler, according to the College Board.

9. Students are hedging their bets

... and you may be surprised how much. In 2010, 25 percent of incoming freshmen had applied to seven or more schools; 77 percent of freshmen applied to at least three schools.

10. Private high school students submit more college apps than public high school students.

Currently, students at public high schools apply to an average of 4.24 colleges, while those at private, non-religious high schools apply to an average of 5.9 colleges.

11. Students are getting into their first-choice colleges.

In UCLAs 2011 Higher Education Research Institute survey of first-year students at four-year colleges and universities, 76 percent reported being accepted to their first-choice college.

12. Demonstrated interest is more important than ever.

The percentage of colleges attaching considerable or moderate importance to demonstrated interest increased from 48 percent in 2009 to 54 percent in 2010. It is now ranked higher than counselor or teacher recommendations.

13. College enrollment is up.

In 2009, about 70 percent of all new high school grads enrolled in college.

*Unless otherwise noted, data is from the 2011 State of College Admission report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.