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The impact of COVID-19 on Admission Yields

COVID-19 has disrupted colleges in innumerable ways. College students had to pack up and leave campus on a moment’s notice, and what everyone initially thought would be only a virtual spring semester has turned into a virtual summer and possible virtual fall. Graduating seniors have missed important rites of passage, among them defending their thesis in person and live graduations. COVID has also upended the college admission process for high school seniors, limiting their ability to visit campuses – high school seniors had to choose where to matriculate based on virtual tours and admissions sessions – and leaving them wondering whether campuses will open in the fall. While parents and students may focus on how COVID has affected them, college admissions officers have another worry: will students accept their offer of admission among all the COVID-related uncertainty. Known as yield – the percentage of admitted applicants who enroll – admissions officers have created longer-than-usual waitlists and have been admitting students off of wait-lists at an unusual pace. Experts anticipate that much will remain in flux in June and even July, as colleges begin to make decisions about whether they will be virtual or on-campus (or some mix) in the fall. This article from Inside Higher Ed sets out some of the concerns Admissions Offices are facing as they try to anticipate what their yield will look like this year.

Survey of enrollment leaders finds admissions fears at Inside Higher Ed