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College Admissions: Applications Surge at Many Elite Colleges

Monday, February 09, 2015


Despite promises of a declining demographic in college age students, applications are up this year at many of the nation’s most elite colleges. From large state universities to small liberal arts colleges and the Ivy League, students are applying in record numbers. Still amidst the winners, there are a few notable losers.

Harvard applications rose 9 percent from last year. According to officials, this was due to financial aid and social media campaigns targeting prospective students. Conversely, Yale saw a 2 percent decline in applications after cutting the number of mailings and viewbooks it sent out by 20 percent. Applications at Dartmouth jumped 6 percent, the University of Pennsylvania saw a 4 percent increase, and Princeton experienced just a 1 percent rise in apps. 

Urban universities are once again big winners this year, as more students opt for the bustle of city life with internship options and a plethora of campus activities. New York University experienced its largest increase in applications in 15 years. A record 37,305 applied for the class of 2019.  Heading south, applications to Emory University’s elite undergraduate programs in Atlanta have hit an all-time high, exceeding 20,000 applications for the class of 2019. Their College of Arts and Sciences applications surged 15 percent. Officials at Emory pointed to the positive media coverage of Ebola victims and their treatment at Emory facilities as a possible reason for the rise in interest.

Proving that a liberal arts education is still relevant in the 21st century, Colby posted an astounding 47 percent increase in applications this year. The school did not release an explanation, but did drop the required supplemental essay this year. Union College in Schenectady, New York also experience an increase in applications, up 10 percent. And for those who thought women’s colleges had become obsolete, Smith College shattered expectations with a 12 percent increase in applications.

Among the country’s most prestigious state universities, there were some big winners and losers. The University of Wisconsin at Madison set another record this year with applications up 8 percent over last year. And in California, 193,873 students sought entrance to at least one of UC's 9 undergraduate campuses, a roughly 6 percent increase. Meanwhile, applications rocketed at the University of Washington, up a robust 16 percent. On the losing side, however, the University of Virginia posted a decline in applications. Embroiled in a frenzy of bad publicity surrounding a student murder and multiple sexual assault scandals on campus, the University has faced an uphill battle in attracting students for the class of 2019. 

For high school seniors still awaiting decisions, these numbers provide some insight into the climate for this admission season, but many schools have not yet released numbers. Check your college’s news page for more information over the coming weeks.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic college counseling, SAT prep and athletic recruiting services www.collegeadvisorsonline.com. 


Related Slideshow: College Guide: Best Off-Campus Study Spots in Central MA

Are you having trouble finding some much needed peace and quiet on your college campus? Check out the following coffee shops and cafés, which are sure to satisfy your studying needs and taste buds.

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In House Coffee

Enjoy homemade regular and flavored coffee, fresh baked muffins, bagels and more at In House Coffee. They even feature a Tiramisu flavored coffee and serve breakfast sandwiches. At In House Coffee you’ll find all the caffeine and baked goods you’re going to need to get through your studying.

225 Shrewsbury St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Sat 7 AM - 10 PM, Sun 8 AM - 10 PM. 

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Bean Counter Coffee Bar

Continuously voted “Best Coffee” by Worcester Magazine, Bean Counter Coffee Bar & Bakery offers the perfect energy boost for your long day of studying. Order one of their homemade pastries for an extra pick me up.

113 Highland St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Thurs 6:30 AM - 10 PM, Fri 6:30 AM - 11 PM, Sat 7 AM - 11 PM, Sun 7 AM - 10 PM.

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Acoustic Java

Acoustic Java is a great spot for studying off-campus, offering plenty of seating and a cozy atmosphere. They also offer a wide selection of seasonal freshly roasted and artisan coffees, teas and made-to-order sandwiches as well as vegetarian options.

932A Main St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 7 PM, Sat- Sun 8 AM - 6 PM.

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NU Café

Curl up next to the fireplace with your books and a latte. Is there really any other way to study? Serving certified organic coffee and real fruit smoothies, NU Café has everything you need to get through your study session. Not convinced? At night they serve beer and wine for those 21+.

335 Chandler St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 10 PM, Sat 8 AM - 10 PM, Sun 9 AM - 8 PM.

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Starbucks is more than great coffee and snacks. Its comfy chairs and tables provide you with the perfect study environment. Choose from their many hot and cold drink items as well as their sandwiches, pastries and salads.

11 East Central St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Sat 5 AM - 10 PM, Sun 6 AM - 8:30 PM.

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Panera Bread

Though everyone knows Panera for their delicious soups, salads and sandwiches, their couches and booths are also a great place to get some studying done while you eat. With many great locations Panera Bread is a convenient place for homework.

Three locations: 120 Goldstar Blvd, Worcester, 508-856-7007; 50 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, 508-798-9949; 70 Worcester-Providence Turnpike, Millbury.

Check website for local addresses, phone numbers, and hours.

Photo: Flickr/docoverachiever

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Straight Up Café

Straight Up Café serves locally roasted coffees so you know you’ll be drinking the freshest coffee while writing that final paper. Offering breakfast items, sandwiches, and salads, you’ll have enough options to get you through a whole day of studying.

795 Main St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 5 PM.

Photo: Flickr/roboppy


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