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Colleges See Record Numbers of Applicants

Dartmouth, Harvard, Connecticut, Colby, Michigan, Macalaster, and Berkeley — the trend of rising application numbers for the class of 2015 has spread across the country and is setting record numbers at many schools.

Applicants this year were seemingly undeterred by the slow economy and the rising cost of college. Ivies and traditionally selective schools saw significant increases in the number of applicants and Harvard hit a record high of 35,000 applicants for its incoming freshman class. The trend hit the Midwest and West, too. Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and Macalaster College in Minnesota saw 44% and 40% jumps, respectively, from last year’s applications numbers.

In Harvard’s newspaper the Daily Crimson, Harvard Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William Fitzsimmons cited financial aid awareness as one of the main reasons application numbers have increased. In the past, Ivies and many private universities seemed like places only for the wealthy, which is no longer the general perception, Fitzsimmons said.

Daniel de Vise in The Washington Post, conjectured that it is more likely that numbers spiked because students are applying to many more schools, not an overall increase in students. In a similar vein, the NY Times, said the one possible reason in increased applications is the more widespread use of the Common Application at many colleges, like Columbia and the University of Michigan — which each accepted the Common Application this year and saw increases of 32% and 18% in application numbers.

While large universities like UCLA, UC-Berkely, and the University of Pennsylvania had increases and received their usual tens of thousands of applications, small, competitive liberal arts colleges have also seen large increases. Colby College in Maine has a 22% increase from last year, and Davidson in North Carolina had a 15% spike.

Numbers are definitely up and competition for acceptance to top schools is rising. But there are two reasons in the trend students can take comfort in. First, the Common Application will allow students to apply to more schools to increase chances of acceptance. And second — as cited by Yale and Harvard’s financial aid offices, among others — even as the economy moves along sluggishly, more aid continues to be available than in the past.

For expert guidance on how you can beat the competition and gain admission to the school of your dreams, contact Top Test Prep today by calling (800) 501-PREP or visiting TopTestPrep.com.