Decision Day, as we know it, is dead. In the good old days, colleges recruited and admitted new students mostly from September through May 1, and then merrily went on a summer vacation. The thing is, this is no longer the case. There are several reasons why you should not stress too much over the Decision Day of the past. Read this short article to learn why Decision Day is dead, and why that is a good thing for students.
There are Less Students
There are two major developments when it comes to the number of high school graduates applying to college. There are less and less students graduating from high school each year because of demographics. Even though more students graduate from high school as a percentage of the high school population, there is a steady decrease in the number of children in the US because of declining birth rates.
Another big recent development shows that almost one million (that’s right – 1,000,000!) students fell off the track to college in the last 2 years. And it wasn’t so much the pandemic to blame as it was the affordability and mental health stress crises it amplified. Imagine what this means for each of the roughly 3,000 colleges in the US – on average, each college didn’t enroll or lost 300 students in just the last few months. Wow.
College applicants are also applying to more colleges than ever before – the average is now 7 or more – but each applicant can ultimately enroll at only one college. This is a headache for most colleges out there.
All this means that existing colleges now have to chase after less and less people who are applying to more and more schools! This is important, and we will get back to it in a minute.
The Law Did Not Like Decision Day
The Justice Department appears to have had no love for Decision Day, among other previously common college recruiting and admissions practices, and thought many of the existing rules are anti-competitive and should be removed. In response, many colleges changed their admissions rules, processes, and practices. Today, colleges are allowed to recruit students year-round, make improved offers past the old May 1 deadline, and even market to each other’s already enrolled students who want to transfer to a different school.
The Silver Lining
For all of you future first-year college students and transfer students, this means that you can apply to any college at any time, even after May 1. The vast majority of colleges will need students after Decision Day, and will continue to recruit and admit new students all the way to the first day of classes.
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