College Trends to Consider for 2022

As high school seniors put the final touches on their college applications, and the 2021-2022 application season winds down, attention quickly turns to juniors. What can they expect for the 2022-2023 admissions cycle?  Here are some early trends:

  • The future of standardized testing remains in flux. The University of California system is “test blind” (sometimes called “test free”) for the 2022-2023 admission cycle, and Stanford just announced that it would remain test-optional for applicants in the 2022-2023 admissions cycle. We can expect other colleges and universities to make announcements about their testing policies in the next few months. FairTest is the best resource for determining a specific college’s testing policy.


  • More colleges are allowing students to self-report their grades. While students will only have to submit transcripts upon matriculation, they must be careful to follow each college’s instructions on how to self-report their grades. If there is a discrepancy between what a student self-reports and the official transcript, they risk having their offer of admission rescinded.


  • More colleges are offering a spring admissions option (this is a useful enrollment management tool for colleges). Students who are flexible about spring admissions may increase their admissions probability at colleges. I previously wrote about whether spring admissions is a good choice for students in a blog.


  • Gap years remain popular, even as colleges have resumed more “normal” operations. While the data is a little murky, EdSurge reports high school students who graduated in 2020 and 2021 took gap years at a higher rate than in pre-pandemic years, although the gap years looked a little different. Gap years can be a transformative experience for students, as this article from Forbes explains.


  • Applications from international students are on the rise, after falling a whopping 46% in the 2020-2021 application cycle because of the pandemic and Trump-era immigration restrictions.


  • Applications to highly selective colleges continue to rise. While the increase is not as great as it was in the 2020-2021 application cycle (when applications exploded—with an increase of 66% at MIT, 51% at Columbia, 28% at UCLA and UC Berkeley and 104% at Colgate), students need to apply to a balanced list of colleges.


  • Colleges will continue to offer admissions events virtually. Although most colleges are welcoming prospective students to campus (under Covid protocols), admissions offices will continue to offer information sessions, tours, and interviews online. This is great news for students who cannot travel to campus!


Juniors should keep these trends in mind as they start to research colleges and build their college lists. As always, students should think about the criteria that matter most to them in their college experience and find colleges that are good matches – places where they will thrive inside and outside of the classroom.