How to streamline the US college application slog
By Brett Nelson – For many students in the United States, applying to college is a massive undertaking—from researching programs and visiting campuses to writing essays and corralling recommendations. The process, often stressful, can involve considerable time, effort, and cost.
But it doesn’t need to be so difficult, research suggests. If universities told students up front their odds of being accepted, the process could be more efficient and ultimately less costly for applicants and the colleges themselves, according to Microsoft Research’s Nicole S. Immorlica and Brendan J. Lucier, Chicago Booth’s Jacob Leshno, and Stanford’s Irene Y. Lo. A more streamlined approach would also bring the US system more in line with how many other countries handle college admissions, including Australia and Israel.
The current process—which includes researching colleges, taking standardized tests, writing essays, and soliciting recommendation letters—might consume more than 100 hours, according to college guidance service CollegeVine (plus perhaps 50 more to prepare for entrance exams such as the SAT). US guidance counselors encourage students to apply to at least six schools, suggests a 2016 survey by Cappex, a college research service. Plenty of students courting the most competitive institutions end up applying to even more to shrink the chances of total rejection.
Colleges, meanwhile, spend time and money creating marketing materials, conducting campus tours, and reviewing applications to end up with a full (but not too full) class of students each year. more>
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