Shifting Admit Rates, STEM Wisdom, and Bay Area Hidden Gems

Supporting students in their college search goes beyond just our work together in meetings. In March, I attended the WACAC conference. In addition to participating in sessions on Berkeley City College's transfer process to a four-year college and specifically to UC Berkeley, the future of nursing pathways, and how to support LGBTQIA students (meet GenZ), I heard first hand from Admissions Directors from Santa Clara University, USC, Trinity College, and Mills College.

Mike Sexton, VP for enrollment management, spoke about Santa Clara's capital campaign and their vision for creating opportunities for SCU to expand their enrollment goals and programs in the next few years. One of my favorite comments was "Is your student a software or hardware person?". His question is one of the many that need to be answered when helping students think about and explore what colleges will support their interests in STEM and CS. Hearing about all the changes at Santa Clara led me to visit and discover again why Santa Clara University is a hidden gem for students interested in staying in the Bay Area or Silicon Valley, looking for 3-2 programs, or seeking a school that prepares students for professional programs.

While USC's 11% admit rate was not too surprising, the news that USC may be decreasing enrollment will be something to pay attention to beyond USC's continuing "staying power" in the media spotlight.

One of the highlights was listening to Dr. Angel B. Pérez, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success at Trinity College discuss the decrease in demographics for college-age students in the Northeast, but the steady and increasing stream of applications and the implications for California students. Listening to him talk about the future of higher education was inspiring and brought me back to his 2017 article, "It’s not just about jobs. Colleges must help students find their passions.".

Hearing the details of the Mills College and UC Berkeley partnership and program opportunities they have undertaken, and continue to expand, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, to support students in the Bay Area underscored how colleges and universities would be seeking out partnerships to support innovation and creatively manage economics in higher education. 

Waitlists, schools going test-optional (not all schools are going test-optional, so this is definitely an area to follow), dropping admission rates at certain schools, and ED vs. RD vs. REA are going to continue to be part of the admissions world. Just like all information, these are factors that must not drive the college search journey, but should be considered during the college search and application process.

I always ask when meeting with students and families, "Any other questions?" So why not ask here - if there's something you've been reading or hearing and want to discuss or share send me an email. I love talking about all-things-college and learning new ways to support students on the college journey.

Have more questions or looking for more support? Email me at

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