Many admissions officers and high school counselors are concerned about the “acceleration” of the admissions process, according to a report released Thursday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
The association, known as NACAC, found that among its members, more than half of admissions officers believe that “earlier” application and admission processes increase stress among applicants. Nearly three-quarters of high-school counselors think that earlier and earlier recruitment has made students more and more anxious. Today, nearly half of colleges start sending mailings to prospective applicants during their sophomore year of high school, a fifth initiate contact with students during their freshman year, and nearly one in 10 send marketing materials to students in the eighth grade or earlier.
Those findings come from the association’s continuing inquiry into “early notification,” the practice of extending admission offers before a student’s senior year of high school, including during the second semester of the junior year. Although relatively few four-year colleges admit applicants prior to their senior year—between 7 and 15 percent, according to NACAC—institutions that do so are typically large, public universities with deep applicant pools.
In 2006, NACAC altered its Statement of Principles of Good Practice to advise colleges against notifying applicants before September 15 of their senior year. According to the new report, the association’s leaders concluded that “pre-senior-year admission practices appeared to cross an as-yet-undefined line separating the high school experience (and much of the adolescent-development process) from the college transition.”