A MUST READ! If you like to read rankings and rely on them in any way, it's important to hear the perspective of institutions who have a very bittersweet relationship with them. This article is very important to read to gain another viewpoint you don't often hear.
The 6 Colleges had a counselor webinar in late February where many issues were addressed including the future of continuing their testing policies, upcoming changes to FAFSA, chat GPT, the anticipated Supreme Court ruling regarding race in college admission, how the work of Admissions is tied to the respective school's goals and mission, and much more. One of the key takeaways was "more is not better" citing the example of AP + IB courses taken simultaneously by students trying to shape a strong profile. Highly selective colleges understand the pressures this puts on students and they want to see applicants who can choose classes carefully based on their needs, abilities, and maturity.
This webinar also address the huge surge in STEM nationally no matter the size of the school. These institutions mentioned how they appreciate students wanting to participate in all classes and not just in their major.-related classes. Interdisciplinary studies and social studies are also growing, and humanities isn't going away, but is waning. All of these institutions are feeling the difficulties of hiring CS faculty, a national challenge. They did also mention how it is "exciting" to read apps where students want to study classics or other unusual areas.
They did mention that the application should showcase what motivates students, what excites them, and how students engage in their interests, and this can also be showcased in letters of recommendation.
Overall, admissions is being very thoughtful about many upcoming significant changes while remaining focused on their institutional missions and goals.
Shifting gears, as we feel prices rising just about everywhere due to inflation, we are expecting higher ed to increase tuition. An article recently published about Stanford raising tuition 7% is here. In previous years, Stanford has raised tuition 4% so this is a significant increase and other institutions are expected to follow suit. However, Stanford has also adjusted their financial aid threshold. Here is another interesting article on UC enrollment numbers in the context of surging demand.