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Highlights from Higher Ed: MBA Growth, Nudging, Grad School Applications and Exam Trends

David Art
Oct 22, 2021

Most “Top 25” Business Schools Report MBA Application Growth

The number of MBA applications increased during the 2020/2021 admissions cycle at 19 of the institutions included in one ranking of “top 25” business schools. Eighteen of the schools recorded double-digit gains. “Overall in the top 25, schools received 91,117 applications, up from 88,272. That’s an increase of 2,845 or 3.2%. Looking back before the pandemic boom, apps in the 2018-2019 cycle totaled 77,487, making for a three-year increase of 13,630 or 17.6%.” Extended deadlines and the suspension of test requirements at many schools likely helped keep application numbers on the upswing.

Source: Poets & Quants

Students Respond Well to “Nudges”

An experiment at a Texas community college indicates that students respond well to “nudging” emails from their schools, as evidenced by students’ increased use of campus resources and higher academic success rates. In an effort to get more students to take advantage of its Advocacy & Resource Center (ARC), Amarillo College sent personalized emails to selected students each month that listed available services and provided encouraging messages. “The impact was decisive with access to ARC increasing from 22% to 56% among the test group. Also, the rates of passage of developmental education coursework increased by 20%. While the nudging emails impacted female students at a higher rate than male students, there was an increase among male students.”

Source: Diverse Education

Despite Plummeting International Numbers, Grad School Enrollment Edged Up in 2020

First-time grad school enrollment increased 1.8% on an annual basis in the fall of 2020, despite the fact that first-time international enrollment dropped more than 37% during the same period. Domestic enrollment increased 12.9%; overall applications were up 7.3%. The categories of students experiencing the most first-time enrollment growth were Latinx (20.4%), Black/African-American (16%) and American Indian/Alaska Native (8.8%). “Total graduate enrollment rose 2.5%, driven by a 6.1% increase in domestic students. However, travel restrictions and other pandemic-related disruptions coincided with a 9.7% overall decline in international graduate students.”

Source: Higher Ed Dive

Fewer Students are Taking the ACT — and Scores are Falling

Approximately 375,000 fewer students took the ACT exam in 2021 than in 2020. Among the roughly 1.3 million students who did take the test this year, the average composite score declined from 20.6 to 20.3, which is the lowest score in at least 10 years. Scores fell among students in every racial and ethnic category with the exception of Asian and American-Indian/Alaska Native students. The data “mirrored results from the SAT in this year’s class. About 1.5 million students in the class of 2021 took the SAT, down 700,000 students from 2.2 million in 2020… For the class of 2021, the mean SAT score was slightly up, 1060 compared to 1051 for the previous year.”

Source: Higher Ed Dive

David Art

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 31,000 programs on more than 1,000 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.