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Undergraduate Applications Up, Yield Rates Down

May 18, 2015

Among four-year colleges and universities, approximately 65 percent saw an increase in the number of undergraduate admissions applications they received in fall 2013 compared to fall 2012, reports the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Applications have generally been on the rise for the past decade. In 10 of the past 15 years, more than 70 percent of four-year colleges reported year-to-year application increases.

NACAC's 2014 State of College Admission survey notes:

  • The number of prospective students who apply to two or more higher education institutions has risen sharply over two decades. Nearly 81 percent of freshmen applied to three or more colleges and universities in fall 2013, up from 63 percent in 1993.
  • The higher number of students applying to multiple four-year colleges has led to a decline in average yield rates. The average yield rate—the percentage of admitted applicants who ultimately enroll—at four-year colleges and universities fell from 36.9.percent in 2012 to 35.7 percent 2013.

The results suggest that at most schools, meeting enrollment targets has become an even greater challenge.

A summary of the 2014 State of College Admission report is available from the NACAC website.


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis