Early Application 2023-24 Trends

Common App has recently released reports based on the U.S. undergraduate application data (up to November 1, 2023, for the 834 institutions in Common App. ), revealing important insights and key trends for this application season.

As of November 1, there are a total of 1,864,124 overall number of accounts created by students intending to enroll in the following academic year (e.g., 2024–25),  an 11% increase from the same time period in the 2022-23 application season (2022-23). More regular applications will come in the next few weeks.

Insights into Early Application 2023-24 Trends

Surge in Early Applications

Up to November 1, 836,598 unique first-year candidates submitted at least one application. Moreover, applicants were diversifying their choices, applying to a slightly higher number of schools with an average of 4.01 applications per applicant, amounting to 3,353,016 overall number of applications, which is a 18% increase over last year.

Several colleges have released early admissions decisions. Among them, Williams College sent the notice out on Dec 8. There is no official data on this yet. Last year Williams accepted 255 students through early applications. The total acceptance rate for the class of 2027 was 9.8%.

Common App Applicant Demographic Trends

The Common App Report highlighted growth trends among different race/ethnicity groups. Applicant with Underrepresented Minorities (URM) status reached a count of 200,167, marking a notable 21% increase. In contrast, non-URM applicants saw a more modest rise of 8%, totaling up to 559,476.

Standard Race/Ethnicity of 2023-24 Common App Domestic First-Year Applicant

  • White409,389 (+6%) 

  • Latinx: 118,354 (21%)

  • Asian: 82,644 (+6%)

  • Black/ African American: 79,229 (+21%)

Socioeconomic Status of 2023-24 Common App Domestic First-Year Applicants

First Generation Status

First generation applicants increased by 13% compared to last season's, totaling to over 224, 176, while the continuing generation showed an increase of 12% with over 612, 422 applicants. A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parents have not obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher (regardless of timing, household structure, and institution type/location). 

ZIP-code Median Household Income

Compared to the same time in the prior season, there is a 20% increase on the number of applicants from below the national median household income zip codes, and a 9% increase on those from above the national median household income zip codes.

Top 5 States with Highest Number of Applicants

  • New York: 64,906 (+30%)

  • Florida: 58,770 (+26%)

  • Texas: 49,558 (+21%)

  • California: 49,172 (+2%)

  • Illinois: 48, 081 (+5%)

International Students Trends

Applicants with international status currently totals to 76,955, showing an increase of 18% over last year. Asia is still the region with the most number of applicants, currently totaled to 42,015. China holds the highest volume of international applicants at 12,112 despite a decrease of 3% compared to the prior season. India comes in second with 9,464 applicants and an increase of 9%. Ghana comes in third at a staggering 162% increase with 6,679 applicants.

Public and Private by the Numbers

During this year's early application phase, public universities received 1,918,459 applications, marking an 22% surge compared to the prior season. Meanwhile, private universities received 1,426,414 applications, reflecting a 12% increase.

Standardized Testing Trends from Common App

Even though only 4% of colleges and universities require test scores this application season, about half or 423,788 applicants submitted their standardized admission test score, while 412,810 of this season's applicants opted not to report .

Consider the following advice if you are wondering whether to submit SAT/ACT scores or not. First and foremost, if you achieve competitive standardized scores early, you'll have greater flexibility in selecting a college. Schools like MIT, Georgetown University, among others, mandate the submission of standardized test scores, and lacking SAT/ACT scores renders students ineligible for application. Moreover, submitting high-standard scores provides valuable opportunity to stand out from the multitude of applicants with similar soft skills during crucial admission evaluations.

Applicant Data Based on Level of Selectivity

Despite the competitiveness of the application process, an increase of 6%, or 536,842 applications have been submitted to the most selective schools (admission rate<25%) compared to prior 2022-23 season. The remaining applications are divided accordingly:

  • Highly Selective (admission rate 25-49%): 428,248 (+26%)

  • More Selective (50-74%): 976,002 (+19%)

  • Less Selective (>+75%): 1,399,795 (+19%)

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Early Application 2023-24 Trends
7EDU Impact Academy 10 December, 2023
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