The Entering Class of 2021 is Different. Why?

Students who inquire about your school before their senior year of high school have always been a special population. While they apply 10% less frequently than students who inquired during their senior year, they deposit at a 5% higher rate. They’re also an important share of your inquiry pool: in a typical year they usually make up more than half of an inquiry pool and a little less than half of deposits. But 2021 was different. Our partners saw a 50.6% increase in senior-year inquiries compared to 2020, and a change in how their inquiry pool was distributed.


Here are three more ways in which these pre-senior inquiries behaved differently in 2021:

  1. Yield dropped. Yield from pre-senior inquiries dropped by 1.2%. In contrast, yield from senior inquiries increased by 0.8%.
  2. Students looked more out-of-state. In-state pre-senior inquiries were down almost twice as much as out-of-state inquiries: 9.8% vs. 5.4%. 
  3. Public colleges saw a bigger drop than private colleges. Deposits from students who inquired before their senior year were down 4.8% at private colleges and down 12% at public colleges.

While the 2021 cycle isn’t quite over yet, we can already start forecasting for 2022. Amongst our partners, we’ve seen a 7.6% increase in pre-senior inquiries vs. 2021 so far. Even with this increase, though, pre-senior inquiries from in-state students are down a further 4.5%, even while inquiries from out-of-state are up 15%.

We’ll continue to explore this topic further in the coming weeks and track these audiences closely throughout the cycle.