College Admission Season Is Crazier Than Ever. That Could Change Who Gets In. By waiving SATs and ACTs, highly selective schools invited an unprecedented wave of applications, upending the traditional decision process
By Melissa Korn and Douglas Belkin
Wall Street Journal
March 16, 2021 11:37 am ET
full article

Ivy League schools and a host of other highly selective institutions waived SAT and ACT requirements for the class of 2025, resulting in an unprecedented flood of applications and what may prove the most chaotic selection experiment in American higher education since the end of World War II.

The question hanging over higher education this month is whether this influx will permanently change how colleges select students and, ultimately, the makeup of the student population.

Interviews with college-admissions officials and public and private high-school counselors point to an epic effort behind the scenes to make tough judgment calls at the highest speed. Colleges send out the bulk of their decision notices in March and early April, but it wonít be widely known how the incoming freshman classes will look until late summer or early fall. Added to the uncertainty will be whether students who deferred enrollment during the last admissions cycle will decide to enter school this year.

Harvard University received more than 57,000 freshman applications for next fallís entering class, a 42% year-over-year jump. Yale, Columbia and Stanford universities were so overwhelmed they also pushed back the date to announce admission decisions. The University of Southern Californiaís applications pool beat the prior record by 7%. And New York University topped 100,000 applications, up 17% from last year.

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