Summing up 2020 Admissions Challenges
By Hubert Ho | Head of Admissions Consulting Services, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
2020-21 admissions cycle is a really tough one for everyone, including students, parents and admissions counselors. First of all, I would like to this opportunity to say congratulations to all our students who have successfully submit their college applications and UCAS application! All of you not just did a great job but also successfully exceeded your limits and demonstrated the quality of an elite.
2020 Admissions Challenges
Why we mentioned that the current admissions cycle is a tough one? Let us go through some of the key challenges that we are facing this year and we are expecting these challenges will continue in the coming few years.
- Test-Optional Policy from Selective Colleges
Although some of the selective colleges state that the test-optional policy only applies to 2020-21 admissions cycle, it is not impossible for them to extend it to the upcoming admissions cycle in the light of the current pandemic. The policy has already drawn attention to a lot of students with high school grade point average (GPA) to apply selective colleges.
- Excessive Numbers of Application in Selective Colleges
From the Early Decision (ED) round, we can already see that the excessive number of applications to all selective colleges. Cornell reported a rise in 36% of ED applications this year, while Duke reported an additional 10,000 applications from its Regular Decision (RD) round as well. It implies a vigorous competition ahead.
- Change of Selection Criteria
Selective colleges have changed the admissions criteria a bit this year to consolidate their CSR. Two types of applicants are favorable to these changes, i.e. Applicants who are deeply impacted by COVID-19 and applicants who have great civil engagement. These changes are different from previous years for the admissions committee looking for applicants who can drive insights to their chosen major. It has caused a lot of high score achievers unable to secure their ED offer and require to compete in the RD round. This phenomenon transfers the RD round to a horrible battlefield this year as well.
- Gap Year Students from 2019-20 Admissions Cycle
Due to the pandemic, colleges have no choice but to change their classes to online and this caused around 20% of the freshmen chose to take a gap year this year. And they will return to colleges in 2020-21 academic year and they will consume part of the freshmen placements.
We are expecting the test-optional policy to be continued in the coming 2021-22 admissions cycle as well as the number of applications to selective colleges will keep on rising. The admissions will be more competitive and complicated than ever from this year. Parents and students are expected to take manoeuvre actions as soon as possible to get ready for the upcoming admissions journey in several areas including academic, career and social readiness.
We are ready to help our clients and students to beat this competition. Are you ready to rock your admissions journey?
Mr. Hubert Ho
Head of Admissions Consulting Services, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Associate Member of IECA, Member of NACAC and AEE
MCom (Finance), UNSW
BCom (Management & Marketing), University of Wollongong
- 10 years+ of experience in education industry
- Proven track record helping students gain admission to US prestigious colleges including Yale University, Stanford University, Cornell University, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, New York University, Boston University
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