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Number of College Applications Grow across the Country

Mar 3, 2022

In an article published Monday, February 28th, Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed reports that the number of college applications is increasing at schools across the country. The University of California received a record breaking 251,179 applications for fall 2022, a 0.5 percent increase from 2021 (249,855 applications). Another public institution, Florida State University, has surpassed last year’s record total of 66,033 applications. As of February 17th, the school had already received 74,000 applications ahead of the March 1st deadline.

The Common Application, the largest college application portal in the country housing over 900 schools, released data on February 15th showing a similar trend of increased college applications. That report states “through February 15th, 1,161,560 distinct first-year applicants had applied to 853 returning members (an increase of 13.9% from 1,019,363 in 2019–2020).”

The report also found that “the share of members requiring test scores decreased further in 2021–22 to five percent after reaching an historic low of 11% in 2020–21.” Jaschik summarizes the standardized test findings from the report, explaining that “this year, 48 percent of applicants included a test score. That figure is up slightly from last year’s total (44 percent) but is way down from two years ago (76 percent).”

The report also shares the number of applications by the selectivity of the college. Jaschik summarizes the report’s breakdown: “the greatest increases were in the most selective colleges, which are up 25 percent in two years. The more selective colleges and less selective colleges are up 17 percent over two years.” Preston Magouirk, a Common Application data analyst, sees this increase in applications to selective colleges “as related to the growth in test-optional colleges.”

At Command Education, we still recommend that students take a standardized test and submit their scores to the universities they are applying to. We have found that top universities are not always truly test-optional. These colleges still favor applicants with strong test scores over students with no scores. For example, over 90% of students admitted to Georgetown University’s Class of 2025 submitted test results.

While a record number of students are applying to college, colleges only have so many slots to offer to students, as Brennan Barnard of Forbes explains. Because of this, it is now more important than ever to stand out and be as competitive as possible in the college applicant pool. Command Education has a plethora of resources to help students stand out. We recommend checking out this list of summer opportunities we have compiled and the various extracurricular activity hubs we have, ranging from athletic recruitment to creative resources. Finally, you must represent yourself as a strong, unique candidate on your application. You can check out our resources for writing a great college application essay, here!

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