Are Test Scores the New Visit?

Students visiting campus are signs for celebration and success at most colleges and universities. For prospective students, visiting campus has historically been one of the strongest ways to express interest in a college or university. The visit signals a family commitment of interest as parents typically are taking time off from work and committing resources as part of the trip to campus.

From our MARKETview data set, students who reside within 100 miles of campus have the lowest barrier to visit and made up 34% of total visit volume among applicants in the Entering Class of 2021. In terms of generating applications, the students that made the trek to campus applied at 55.2% rate for 2021 and yielded at a 39.3% rate.

As the Entering Class of 2022 is building, visits as a first source of inquiry remain volatile in terms of yield prediction and conversion down funnel. In fact, first-source visit inquiries are down 25.2% as of November 4, 2021.

So where are enrollment leaders turning for security? Turns out test scores may be the new visit.

Test scores are proving to be meaningful signals on the part of students and are worthy of attention, even increasingly so in the world of test-optional admissions.

While nearly 1,800 colleges and universities no longer require test scores for admission, MARKETview data reveals that 39.3% of the students still submitted a test-score in 2021. These students ultimately yielded at a 22.9% rate – up from 20.3% in 2020 and 21.3% in 2019. And students whose first source of inquiry was a test score saw an even higher yield of 33%.

Fast forward to today and the developing Entering Class of 2022. As of November 4, applications submitted with test scores actually are up 11.3% when compared to the same point in time for Entering Class 2021.

As the student and family behaviors change in the market, college and university admissions teams must continue to adapt. The MARKETview data platform provides the visibility and nuance our partners need to inform their operational and strategic decisions and advance from these market shifts and opportunities as they’re revealed.