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More Applications, More Deferrals, More Surprises, Oh My! A Look at our Annual IEC Survey Results

Earlier this spring, we surveyed our IEC colleagues about their observations from this past admissions cycle, and it’s official: students need your guidance and advice more than ever! 

Admission results this year were more unpredictable

The majority of you reported more unpredictable results (more applications, more deferrals and/or wait list offers, especially). And, as always, you adapted your practices to meet students where they are, finding the resources and information they would need to make informed decisions about where and when to apply. 

For a more detailed snapshot, here’s how you and your colleagues responded when asked, How was to 2021-22 admissions cycle different?


Test optional policies contributed to confusion

Test optional (or as we often say “submission optional”) policies were a big part of what made outcomes the past few years harder to predict. Without reliable data from the previous class of admitted students to use as a guide, students applied to more schools. And without a key piece of the data they used to rely on to predict enrollment, colleges put more students on a waiting list. 

Feelings about the trend of selective colleges remaining test-optional ran the gamut. Overall, more IECs responding to our survey reported that they disliked the trend than liked it, with the most popular reason being that admissions have become harder to predict and will only become moreso. 

An overwhelming majority of IECs report that most of their seniors were able to test

Nearly 9 in 10 IECs reported that most of their seniors were able to test, with 10% reporting most of their seniors submitted scores with all or nearly all of their applications. 

Unsurprisingly, those reporting that most of their students were unable to test (5% of respondents) were concentrated mainly on the west coast, especially in California where students have continued to struggle to find nearby open seats for the SAT and ACT. 

As we head into the next admissions cycle, it is important for students to know that the majority of their peers are testing – and while some colleges have been less than transparent about how much weight these scores carry in their own admissions decisions, students should give careful consideration to the role they want testing to play in their own application process at each school to which they apply. 

Most IECs perceive that some schools favor test scores

According to our survey, over half of IECs suspect that some colleges favor test scores. 

The available data suggest that this may be true, especially at some of the most selective colleges, though there may be more correlation than causation at play here. Your narrative survey responses (illustrated below) suggest that some regions of the country and types of schools are more likely to favor a return to required testing, including:


IEC practices continue to adapt, and virtual connections are here to stay

While around half of respondents reported that they are doing their best to respond to an increased demand in inquiries, only 10% report actually growing their practices intentionally by means of outreach or marketing efforts.  

One overwhelmingly clear trend is that connecting with students online seems to be working for most IECs and their clients. Nearly half (47%) of IEC respondents say they are exclusively meeting with 100% of their clients online, while only 15% report seeing fewer than half of their clients online. For our part, we have seen that some families who were once skeptical about online tutoring are now embracing that option and we on the IEC Team have been grateful for the chance to stay in close contact with our IEC colleagues throughout the world from the safety of our own home offices as well.


In closing

Our 2022 IEC Survey revealed what many of you already knew: this past admissions cycle brought more uncertainty and confusion to students already struggling to recover from the challenges brought on by the pandemic. As one colleague put it,

It’s becoming more difficult to assess what is truly within reach for students. It almost feels like every school is a wildcard.

Thank you for sharing your reflections on this wild year with us. We wish your students safe landing at the colleges they have chosen for the fall and thank you for inviting Applerouth to be part of their journeys and yours.

Applerouth is a trusted test prep and tutoring resource. We combine the science of learning with a thoughtful, student-focused approach to help our clients succeed. Call or email us today at 202-558-5644 or