THE STATE OF COLLEGE ADMISSION REPORT–publications/publications/state-of-college-admission/

Examining the transition from high school to postsecondary education through survey data collected from colleges and universities across the country.


In the 2019 edition of NACAC’s annual State of College Admission report, you’ll find up-to-date information about the admission process for first-time freshmen, transfer students, and international students in the US. Learn more about factors in the admission decision, acceptance rates for college applicants, common recruitment strategies, and the status of college counseling in secondary schools.

Executive Summary:

Colleges Accept Two-Thirds of First-Time Freshmen Applicants, on Average: The percentage of applicants offered admission at four-year colleges and universities in the United States—referred to as the average selectivity rate— was 66.7 percent for Fall 2017. The national average acceptance rate has increased from a low of 63.9 percent in Fall 2012.

Average Yield Rate for FirstTime Freshmen Holds Steady After Long Decline: The average yield rate for Fall 2017 was nearly identical to Fall 2016 (33.7 percent and 33.6 percent, respectively). Over the past decade the average yield rate has steadily declined from 48 percent in Fall 2007.

Transfer Acceptance Rate Slightly Lower than Freshmen Rate; Yield Much Higher: Among institutions that enroll transfer students, average selectivity for Fall 2018 was 61 percent, compared to 66 percent for first-time freshmen. However, more than half (52 percent) of transfer applicants who were admitted ultimately enrolled, compared to only 27 percent of freshman admits.

International Student Acceptance Rate is Low; Yield Slightly Higher than First-Time Freshmen: At institutions that enroll first-time international students, the Fall 2018 admit rate for this population (52 percent) was lower than the rate for both transfer and first-time freshmen students. The average yield rate for international students was 29 percent. Recruitment and Yield Strategies College admission offices use a variety of strategies to recruit prospective students, particularly those who would be likely to attend if admitted. Colleges are broadening their recruitment efforts to bring in more transfer and international students.

Top Recruitment Strategies: Colleges employ a broad range of strategies when recruiting high school students. Sending email, maintaining institutional websites, and hosting campus visits were the primary means by which colleges recruited first-time freshmen for the Fall 2018 admission cycle. Four other factors—high school visits, direct mail, and outreach to both parents and high school counselors—were

Full Report:

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