The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 5th

Common Application leads to 23 percent increase in applications at UNC

The University’s switch to the Common Application has admissions staff reviewing 5,468 more applications than last year — a jump of 23 percent.

This year’s admissions cycle was UNC’s first using the Common Application. The resulting increase in applications didn’t come as a surprise to admissions staff, said Julie Tucker, assistant director of admissions.

By the numbers

increase in applications
increase in application fee
early applications

“We knew we could see close to a 20 to 25 percent increase from talking to our peer institutions,” she said.

Out-of-state applicants accounted for much of the increase, said Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions.

More than 29,200 students submitted applications in the early action and regular decision rounds of admissions, vying for spots in the class of 2016.

But that influx is precisely the reason UNC officials hesitated to switch to the Common Application, Farmer said.

“We want students to search thoughtfully rather than applying rashly,” he said.

“I don’t know how much time it actually saves students, but they perceive that it saves them a lot of time.”

The Common Application is a standard application that can be submitted to participating universities nationwide. Often, those schools — including UNC — require a supplemental application.

J.D. Hastings, an in-state high school senior, used the Common Application to apply early action.

“If I wished to apply to more schools, the Common App would definitely prompt me to apply,” he said.

Hastings said the UNC supplement to the Common Application gave him the opportunity to set himself apart.

The early action deadline fell on Oct. 15, two weeks earlier than last year. The number of applications submitted for early action was down 8 percent from last year.

Last year, more than 14,000 students applied early. This year, fewer than 13,000 did.

The earlier deadline could have discouraged some from applying early, Tucker said.

“We do not try to predict the actions of 17-year-olds,” she said.

But the flow of applications accelerated in time for the Jan. 5 regular decision deadline.

Admitted early action students ranked in the top of their class, with 86.7 percent in the top 10 percent. Students ranked first in their class made up 11 percent of those admitted.

The male-female ratio of admitted students in the early action round was about 60 percent female and 40 percent male. That ratio mirrored the applicant pool, of which 39 percent were male.

An increased application fee of $80, up from $70, was implemented as well. Admissions staff said they hope it will offset any additional processing costs.

Admissions staff will spend the next two months sifting through thousands of regular decision applications.

“We have a lot of second deadline candidates, so we’re going to have to hustle,” Farmer said.

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