Thread: I bet you're wondering what's going on in the mind of your friendly local EM or admissions/FA professional.

So follow along.
There are no reliable trends. We have anecdotes. Harvard up 57%. Colgate up 102%.

Princeton ended up 15% ahead of last year, probably because they dropped all early options in response to COVID-19.

Refer to this tweet if you ever ask why colleges keep early plans.
Big public universities with panache in their state are up. UCLA and UCB blew 100K apps out of the water. We're up about 35%, but our in-state rival is also having a record year.

Cal States appear to be down. Most unis with a direction in their name are seeing similar trends.
Privates are also a mixed bag, depending on where you are on the hierarchy of American higher ed. Gains at the top, decreases near the bottom.

Flat is the new up for some of these colleges.

So, uncertainty: What does it all mean?
I'm luckier than some of my colleagues, who have to hit a number right on. If we over-enroll a bit, we're large enough to absorb it without too much trouble.

But at some super-selectives, going under your number is actually better than going over. Not here. Not most places.
Of course, apps in admissions are like shots in golf: Drive for show; putt for dough. Except in EM it's apps and yield.

Your yield is based on whom you admit; and how many and whom you admit is based on your yield. This is the great paradox of EM.

Read that again.
So, how do you predict yield? Almost all the tools we have are gone: No high school visits. No yield events. No fall visit programs. FAFSA position was nuked several years ago (don't get me started on that).

And no SAT scores, or at least not for all students.
You read that right. The SAT was essentially useless in predicting anything about a specific student academically; but it was a good tool to use in predicting yield. Why?

EZ. Because society told students it was meaningful. So it drove app patterns, expectations, entitlement.
And all those things drove behavior.

What about net price? That too is an extraordinarily valuable predictor of yield. (Note to economists: Lower prices cause people to differentiate).

But at many schools, net price was driven by two things colleges have wanted to maximize:
GPA and SAT. We know the SAT is out, so many institutions are awarding merit aid on the basis of GPA. Well, that works, right?

Um, usually. In most years without pandemics. But GPA is probably less meaningful this year, for a lot of reasons beyond the control of students.
To wit: Some schools last year gave everyone A grades. Some switched everyone to pass fail. Some allowed students to choose. That's a systematic issue. So is instructional method: Online, in-person, or blended.

But individual issues are also germane here:
Not every family has a PC for everyone to work on at the same time. Not every family has internet access. Not every family has an adult home to supervise younger kids. The list goes on.

And guess who these problems affect the most? Not @Stanvard_U students.
So, when I say none of us in EM know what in the hell to expect, or how to estimate what we can expect, I'm not exaggerating.

One final thing: How many apps are hedges against unanticipated COVID-19 developments? If you have a waitlist a mile long, you don't need to care.
Oh, your admit rate might go a bit higher, but you'll make your class.

If you don't have that waitlist, you probably have just one chance to get it right.

(Aside: Now you know how 17-year-olds feel applying to college).
Apparently, when you land a fighter on an aircraft carrier, you want your plane to catch the second of four wires across the deck.

But you really just want to land the plane. You'd be happy with any wire as long as you get it down safely.
And when you're doing that, you want a) an experienced pilot, and b) really good instruments.

This is even more true when you are landing at night. In a storm. With a undulating deck.
If you can only choose one, you probably choose the good pilot. Right now, that's you. Your instruments are shot. They're kaput.
This is not a "everyone lived happily ever after story." I prefer my crime shows Swedish, where reality sets in at the end as you're waiting for everything to be tied up in a bow.

Not all the news will be good.
But this is what we signed up for, and this is what we have to do.

Oh, and did I mention we are supposed to do this all ethically? Even though there is no more mutually-agreed upon mandate to do so?
So faculty, be nice to your EM and admissions people. Don't send chocolate, though. There is plenty going on in our nervous systems right now, and we don't need any more caffeine.

A little encouragement would be great. A little help would be better.
After all,
Oh, and #EMTalk

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More from @JonBoeckenstedt

30 Dec 20
Thread: Just because I have some vacation time this week, and because I'm interested, a little bit about colleges closing.

@collhistgarden at the College History Garden has done a good job of this, but I wanted to do something else. Here's that site:
This is of interest to me for a few reasons: First, we've had a few announcements about well-known colleges closing in the last two years (some later rescinded or modified); second, colleges always close; and third, we've been hearing pundits predict this trend for 20 years.
So, how to do this? There is no perfect way, of course. But I downloaded the data of all US institutions in 2009 and 2019 from IPEDS and did a bit of analysis. It's not perfect.

Some of these places have changed names and gotten a new ID (Jefferson Davis CC in Alabama), e.g.
Read 17 tweets
25 Oct 20
Thread: The year ahead

We're one of those curious points in history when being way up in applications could be a bad thing, and being way down could be a good thing.

Get ready for another year of "we really can't tell" in Enrollment Management and admissions:
Let's say you're a solid, mid-market college in a large city. Increasing apps could be a hedge for students who think they may have to stay closer to home.

If, by next March, we've contained COVID-19 or developed a vaccine, you become last choice.
Let's say you're a flagship or land grant, and you see apps up at this point. This could be those students normally headed out-of-state or to private colleges. You're a hedge against high tuition.
Read 17 tweets
22 Sep 20

A play, in five acts:

ACT I, the least surprising announcement in college admissions:…
Read 9 tweets
21 Sep 20
Thread: The NY Post decided to write an article about the new book by @jselingo

I am no New York expert but I don't get a good impression from the Post most times I read an article there.

But I thought this might be an exception. It's not.
First problem: They don't
More than 50 is technically accurate. But it's probably actually more like 1500. Still, of course, the reality is that it only matters at 50 at most, and--no offense intended--University of Toledo is probably not one of them.
Read 25 tweets
17 Sep 20
Thread: The privileged need to be worried about *something* related to college admissions. And as it's become increasingly clear that they might not have a chance to take the SAT/ACT, or to only take it once, there's something new.
Now it's "What will replace the SAT?"…
This doesn't mean, of course, "What will replace the SAT at 1500 colleges and universities." That answer is easy: Nothing will. Because it's not necessary.
Read 15 tweets
15 Sep 20
Thread: It's college ratings week, and in our business, we know that means USNWR.

I don't blame USNWR: They simply identified something colleges probably should be doing, but were reluctant to, and did it themselves. For profit.
But of course they're silly. @Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell does a good job of tearing them apart in his @NewYorker article, here:…
If you don't want to read the whole thing, here's the point that proves the premise: Image
Read 23 tweets

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