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What You Need to Know About Direct College Admissions

The latest admissions trend may change your mind about college and help you save money.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

April 20, 2023

What You Need to Know About Direct College Admissions
Direct college admissions is a newer strategy to make the process easier for students.
There is a so-called “crisis” happening in college admissions. Since 2019, college enrollment has declined by 8% nationwide. Much of this decline can be pinpointed to the pandemic; however, numbers were decreasing well before colleges closed and virtual learning became the norm. While trade and vocational schools are certainly a viable option after high school, economists are worried about the long-term effects of college enrollment declines, according to Fortune. Fewer college graduates would accelerate labor shortages in many fields, like healthcare and information technology. It’s also projected that high school graduates would earn 75% less over their lifetime than college graduates. Given those statistics, colleges are getting creative in order to increase enrollment.

Benefits of Direct College Admissions

Direct college admission is a newer strategy being employed by colleges and universities across the country. With direct admission, colleges make offers to high school students who haven’t even applied to their school. Students will usually receive a direct admission notice their senior year; however, they may come during the junior year. Interestingly, both students and universities benefit from direct college admissions. Given the impacts, it could drastically change the college admissions landscape.

Direct College Admissions Saves Time and Money

For students, there are benefits as well. Applying to college can be a costly, time-consuming experience. Receiving a direct college admission invitation means no application fees for students. From a logistical standpoint, high school students can also save time. With direct college admission, they can focus more of their energy on senior year academics, extracurriculars, and events.

Direct College Admissions Gives Students Confidence

Finally, direct college admissions makes college a viable option for students that may not have believed they qualify. For students that haven’t applied to college because they were unsure of their admit chances, it may give them the headspace to consider the opportunity for themselves. At the same time, there are students who are completely daunted by the admissions process and choose not to participate. Receiving a direct college admission changes everything for them. All they have to do is commit.

Direct College Admissions Increases Enrollment

For colleges and universities, this admissions avenue can help to increase enrollment. It enables the colleges to determine how many students they can extend an admission invitation to versus waiting to see how many prospective students apply. It also helps colleges target certain students to diversify their student bodies. If there is a particular group of students that the college wishes to increase in enrollment, like top scholars or a specific racial or ethnic background, they can extend admissions invitations to those individuals only.

How Can Students Qualify for Direct College Admissions?

For students, there isn’t much college application work that they must do in order to qualify for direct college admissions. Rather, they receive offers based on their overall performance in high school. For instance, colleges might offer admissions based on a student’s GPA or standardized test scores. A community college may send direct admission notices to all students in the local area that graduated from high school. According to Yahoo!, Idaho offers direct admission to public colleges and universities in the state for all high school graduates. Since offering direct admissions, attendance at Idaho colleges has increased by 8%.

Common App Direct Admission Program

The Common App, which allows students to apply to over 1,000 participating colleges with one application, is also piloting a direct admission program. In this case, students will be doing the work of completing the Common App; however, they may receive a direct admission decision from one of the participating colleges. As of now, only 14 colleges are participating in this program, and they are targeting students by GPA and location. Students who qualify will receive an email about the admission decision through the Common App.

Another Alternative: The Concourse App

Concourse is a student’s one-stop-shop for college admissions and the scholarship search. The service costs $75; however, Concourse reports that this is less than typical college application fees. Rather than apply to multiple colleges, students fill out one profile. Their profile is completely anonymous, and they are viewed by admissions officers at participating universities. Students are guaranteed to receive at least four admissions offers, with the average being five. Concourse reports that 60% of admissions offers also come with scholarships. To utilize this service, students must set up an account through their school counselor. If they do not have a school counselor, Concourse can work directly with students to complete a profile. Finally, students that are eligible may receive a fee waiver.

Direct College Admissions: The Way of the Future?

The future of direct college admissions remains to be seen. However, states like Idaho and the emergence of direct admission on Common App show that it’s a legitimate and successful way to enroll more students in college. Though college is not the ideal path for everyone after high school, direct admissions can give those students who wish to go to college, but are unsure for whatever reason, the nudge to pursue it.

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Kathryn Knight Randolph

Associate Content Editor

Kathryn Knight Randolph is the Associate Content Editor at Fastweb. She has 17 years of higher education experience, working first as an Admissions Officer at DePauw University before joining Fastweb. In b...

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