College Admissions Trends: What Will 2014 Bring?

Via CollegeBound. Written by Dawn Papandrea.

New year, same old pressures when it comes to getting into the college of your dreams, right? While many things do inevitably stay the same (needing a good GPA and decent SAT score to have a fighting chance at your reach schools), there are some trends that we predict will slightly alter the college admissions process in 2014.

Let’s take a peek at the CollegeBound crystal ball, shall we?

1. Social media continues to play a bigger role. Don’t expect colleges to ask for your Facebook URL or Twitter handle on their applications just yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t checking out your online activity. We started seeing signs of Google stalking last year, and it will likely continue. Social media will also count when it comes to how you research colleges (as you probably figured out already). Colleges have joined LinkedIn; they share their favorites pins on Pinterest; and of course, they keep students updated and entertained on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. In other words, you can learn a lot about your choice schools by checking out what they do online.

2. The number of high school seniors peaked in 2011 at 3.4 million, which means there are less seniors competing for spots at the nation’s colleges and universities. However, don’t expect the selectivity of the elite institutions to lessen any time soon. What this really means for you is that the lesser known high-quality colleges will be competing for your applications, trying to woo and wow students with amenities!

3. More students taking alternate routes. There was a lot of press last year about student loan debt surpassing the $1 trillion mark, and as a result, more questioning as to the value of a college degree. The prevailing notion is that maybe taking out a couple hundred thousand dollars in loans might not be worth it for the majority of students, given the tough job market to follow graduation. It’s causing many experts to advise their students — especially those whose grades are average — to consider local community colleges, and/or city and state universities. Many of these institutions are excellent, and they can also offer a less expensive tuition. Other options for students include taking a gap year, seeking specialized training at a technical school, or starting out at a community college and transferring to a 4-year program.

What predictions do you have about college admissions? Share your thoughts below.

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