College Admissions: Easier or Harder? Or Is That the Wrong Question? page 3

Looking Ahead

The New York Times suggests that the number of applicants will begin to decline from around 2010 until 2015 and that as a result, most students will find getting into college easier: It will become a “buyers’ market”.4 But regardless of how difficult it is to gain admission to any particular school, the percentage of college students has been continually increasing. In 2009, 70% of high-school graduates enrolled in college, up from 46% in 1959.5 The National Center for Education Statistics projects that from 2006 - 2017, enrollment will rise by 10% for college students under 25 and by 19% for older students.6

A great deal of this increase will be due to online education. Many of these schools are “for profit”, which means they will be less exclusive. That is not to say they will hesitate to flunk a student out who is not completing the requirements, but it does make it easier to get into college in the first place. As we mentioned earlier, not all the experts we interviewed support online education (more on that in the following articles in this series). Yet from 2008 - 2009 online college enrollments increased 17%, fourteen times higher than the 1.2% overall increase. Over 25% of college students take at least one online college course.7

In Part 2 of this series our experts tackle the thorny question of admission criteria. Are they functional? Are they flawed? Are they inconsistent? What changes, if any, would they recommend? Coming up next week – Admission Standards: Up to Standard or Substandard?

4 Alan Finder, Math Suggests College Frenzy Will Soon Ease, New York Times, Mar. 9, 2008

5 College enrollment up among 2009 high school grads, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Apr. 28, 2010

6 Do you have information on college enrollment? Fast Facts, IES national Center of Education Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

7 I. Elaine Allen, Jeff Seaman, Learning on Demand, Online Education in the United States, 2009, The Sloan Consortium, Babson Survey Research Group, Jan. 2010, p. 1