What does an ideal incoming class look like?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

Nancy Meislahn
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Wesleyan University

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

Here is my video response to the question.

Jenny Rickard
Chief Enrollment Officer Bryn Mawr

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

Here is my video response to the question.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Colleges in the hot seat; roles reversed as they anxiously await response from accepted students

May 1 is arriving soon and many colleges anxiously await their yields. With more than 3 million high school seniors planning to attend college this fall, this year of economic turbulence and increased competition for college admissions is causing more private schools clamor for acceptance from their "acceptees". Some students are changing their academic goals as a result of the recent downturn in the economy. Put simply: the school that may have been a student's number one choice in December may now be out of reach due to economic circumstances. More than half of students surveyed in late 2008 said they were more likely to go to an in-state school, and when polled just two months later, February 2009, the number of students who responded positively to attending an in-state school had risen another 10 percent. Students and parents are carefully weighing their options by comparing financial aid packages and predicting their economic futures. So far, the trend shows a tendency for students to consider more affordable state schools, rather than pricier private schools. The role reversal finds "elite" admissions counselors in an unusual position - hoping that the high school seniors will select their more expensive tuition instead of more economically feasible public and state schools. More than 90 percent of high school students surveyed by Royall & Co., a higher education marketing and research firm, said they were changing their college plans because of the economy and focusing on keeping their options open by considering in-state and public schools. The national survey of college-bound high school seniors found that many plan to keep their options open: 28% said they would send deposits to more than one college - a 160% increase over last year. Ironically, some public schools, such as the University of Florida, are concerned about over-enrollment; Florida admitted 400 fewer students this year in anticipation of this emerging trend. Similarly, some smaller private colleges that had an increased number of applications placed a record number of students they would have rejected under normal circumstances on the wait-list. These colleges project a decreased number of students who will accept the offer to enroll. The most elite private universities have been holding their own, with some experiencing big jumps in applications this year. Harvard experienced another record year for applications and admitted just 7% of applicants. This jump can be attributed to the generous financial aid packages that elite schools have introduced in recent years in an effort to allow low-income families to avoid excessive education loans. While some things never change, the adage does not hold true for the college admissions cycle this year. For a change, students can use the economy as leverage for their admission to college - the ramifications of which keeps Deans of Admissions on their toes.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Ideal Classes Reflect Institutional Needs

The definition of an ideal class will vary from school to school, for ultimately the admissions process is about schools making decisions that allow them to create the kind of community that reflects their mission and goals. One of the things that applicants must never forget is that the admissions process is as much about schools making decisions based on their needs as it is on the applicant’s record. Each school has a different personality and its community—and the decisions that go towards shaping it—reflect that. While counselors will often talk about students finding the right fit, the schools are looking for it too, and the fit at big state university may be very different from that at a small liberal arts school.

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

That is different for every college

Regardless of the college, most want diversity. Diversity of race, religion, socio-economic background, geography, majors, thought, interests, etc. College would be pretty boring if everyone was the same. Every college has its own goals as far as academic profile, numbers in each major, athletes, musicians, etc. It is impossible to generalize about what the ideal class for a college looks like.

Calli Christenson
Director CLC College Prep Services

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

An ideal incoming class is diverse and represents students from all types of backgrounds, with all different types of gifts, experiences, and strengths. Colleges desire students who are unique and can offer something to their university. An incoming class that captures this is going to make a positive imprint on any campus.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

Most colleges want a diverse class. They want science students, art students, business students, white students, black students, latino students, asian students; they want students with interesting talents and backgrounds. The "ideal" varies from college to college.

Cara Ray
Senior Associate Montgomery Educational Consulting

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

An ideal incoming class includes a a talented and diverse population of students. This diversity may include geographic diversity, socioeconomic diversity, racial and ethnic diversity, as well as diversity of academic and extracurricular interests. Colleges are looking to bring in a class that can provide a variety of perspectives and interests both inside and outside the classroom for increased learning for the entire campus community.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

Each individual institution has a different version of an ideal class. But, all admissions offices are charged with selecting a class specific to the individual needs of the university in an effort to create a positive learning environment. Colleges want to find students who will persist in achieving graduation at their institution. Selecting students that will find academic success and an niche for engagement outside of the classroom has positive affects on retention and graduation rates. Another dimension of creating a positive learning environment stems from the recognized and documented value of a diverse student body on learning outcomes. The way that a college strives for diversity will vary based on the present and historical representation on campus. Diversity goals may be related to major choice, socioeconomic status, geography, gender, race, or learning style.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What does an ideal incoming class look like?

Ethnically diverse, & geographically as well, plenty of intn'l students & a number of students with various disabilities round out most freshman classes.