Category Archives: Demographic Change


At Test-Optional Colleges, Students Surpass the Scores They Didn’t Submit

At nearly three dozen colleges that do not require applicants to take the ACT or SAT, researchers have found only “trivial differences” between the long-term performance of college students who submitted test scores and those who did not.

According to a report released on Tuesday, the cumulative grade-point averages of non-submitters was .05 lower than of submitters (2.83 compared with 2.88). The difference in their graduation rates: 0.6 percent.

The report (“Defining Promise: Optional Standardi…


How to Avoid a Silent Spring

ScottSIn a guest post today, Scott Andrew Schulz shares some thoughts about the challenges facing admissions officers. Mr. Schulz is dean of enrollment at Saint Martin’s University, in Lacey, Wash.

It haunts our dreams. It makes the calmest of people hyperventilate. Seeing it in your calendar causes more anxiety than any dentist appointment might.

What is it? May 1, the judgment date for many enrollment managers, the day by which accepted applicants must send in their deposits. After May 1, colleges k…


First-Generation Students Lag in College Readiness, Report Says

About a quarter of high-school graduates who took the ACT in 2013 met all four of its college-readiness benchmarks, in English, reading, mathematics, and science. But students whose parents did not go to college fared quite a bit worse: Only 9 percent of them met all four benchmarks.

That finding comes from a report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: First-Generation Students,” released on Monday by ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit group focused on a…


Demographic Change Doesn’t Mean the Sky’s Falling

Boston — The evolution of enrollment management has long entwined with the story of changing demographics. Here at the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions on Tuesday, William R. Fitzsimmons described how many of today’s recruitment strategies grew from dire predictions back in the late 1970s, when colleges were bracing for a sharp decline in the number of high-school graduates.

“A lot of it came out of fear,” said Mr. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard. “Peop…


The Bottom Line vs. Social Good

In an article on Thursday, I described new projections that will shape the future of college admissions. By the year 2020, minority students will account for 45 percent of the nation’s public high-school graduates, up from 38 percent in 2009, according the latest edition of Knocking at the College Door, a regular report on demographic changes published by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

The report confirms trends that admissions officers have long anticipated. The supply …


‘The Real Disruption’ in Higher Ed?

Recently, several admissions officers and college counselors have asked me about “disruption” in higher education. They’d all read somewhere that academe is on the verge of transformation—or collapse. Was it true?

My answer goes like this: Imagine that you’re the head of a publishing house, and that a prospective author has proposed writing about how and why college will change in some ways but not in others, that many of those changes will be gradual, subtle, and complex, and that despite man…


An Enrollment Experiment, Grounded in ‘Grit’

In the fast-changing realm of higher education, “grit” is becoming a red-hot word. Maybe you call it resilience, determination, or perseverance. Srikant Vasan defines it as “being able to get over obstacles as they appear in your path, to stand up when you’ve been punched down, to set a long-term vision and a goal for yourself, and be able to keep those in mind.”

How might colleges effectively measure—and promote—those kinds of noncognitive skills and habits among students? Mr. Vasan hopes t…


What Demographic Changes Mean for Colleges and Counselors

In a guest post, Brian T. Prescott, director of policy research for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, known as WICHE, describes the implications of projected demographic shifts for admissions officers and college counselors.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is proud to have been producing projections of high-school graduates for over 30 years. Known as Knocking at the College Door, the series is scheduled to release its next edition this winter. These …


College Enrollments of Hispanic Students Reach New Highs

For the first time, Hispanic students represent the largest minority group at four-year colleges and universities, according to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, the enrollment of Hispanic students at four-year institutions increased by 20 percent, to 1.2 million, from 2010 to 2011. Similar growth was seen at two-year colleges.

Over all, the increase in the number of Hispanic students attending college accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total growth in…


White Births No Longer a Majority in U.S.

The U.S. Census Bureau has confirmed that minority births have surpassed the number of white births for the first time, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

This marks an expected but meaningful turning point, the Times reports: “While over all, whites will remain a majority for some time, the fact that a younger generation is being born in which minorities are the majority has broad implications for the country’s economy, its political life, and its identity.”

The shift also has implication…