The temperatures are dropping, leaves are starting to change, and for many of our partners, Saturdays have become dedicated to college football. As we collectively transition from summer to fall, MARKETview is able to share an early read on overall application performance and insights as of October 6, 2023.
In this post, we’ll present our latest observations about year-over-year change in application volume as well as some more detailed slices by inquiry class year and region.
1. Applications Are Up for Both Public and Privates, Direct Admission Is Contributing to This Growth
At this point-in-time, we see a 7.0% increase in overall application volume across our National Cohort, which includes all MARKETview partners. We believe this can be, in part, attributed to the growing popularity of Direct Admission as around 20% of our partners in our dataset are utilizing Direct Admission to a greater extent this year. Whether these students ultimately yield is something we will be monitoring throughout the year, though historically we know Direct Admission students tend to yield at much lower rates.
2. International Student Interest Continues To Send Mixed Signals
International student behavior continues to be unpredictable. Compared to last year international applications are up 19.1% across all institutions. The differences are stark when we compare Privates to Publics, with Privates up 26.2% in international applications while Publics are down -13.5%. We will be closely monitoring how this activity translates to deposits throughout the cycle. For reference, last year we saw an over 30% increase in applications for international students that would eventually remain flat with deposits.
3. Application Growth by Pre-Senior vs. Senior
When we zoom in on the overall increase in application volume, we start to see a clearer picture of changing behavior between students who first engage prior to their senior year of high school (pre-senior inquiries) and those who first raise their hand during their senior year (senior inquiries).
Application growth from pre-senior inquiries today compared with point-in-time last year remains relatively flat (1.2% increase), while senior inquiry applications are up 14.1%. While a large increase in applications is usually a welcome trend for most schools, a spike in volume from students who first engage during their senior year presents potential yield challenges, as the window schools have to build relationships is much shorter.
4. Application Volume Trends Vary Considerably by the Student’s Region of Residence
The growth in application volume was not felt universally across the country. The New England Region is experiencing a 25.4% surge in applications, though some of this can be attributed to a growth in Direct Admission among schools in this region. On the other side of the nation, the Western region has 5.2% decline in application volume. All other regions are experiencing growth in application volume compared to last year at this point in time.
Throughout the cycle, we will continue to monitor and share insights on how these trends impact our partners and their ability to achieve their goals.