Berkeley2 Academy wants to provide you with the most current college major selection data so that you can make strategically sound decisions about which major you want to choose.
In our last blog post, we discussed what Berkeley2 Academy is seeing in the latest college admissions trends. In general, we found that
Higher education institutions have reduced admission rates
Increased application numbers and greater global competition have made admissions more competitive
Early Action and Early Decision are becoming more popular among students and admission offices, but EA/ED admission rates vary based on institution
If you have not done so already, we suggest that you go back and read our previous post first. One of the conclusions it drew was that a sound college admissions strategy is needed. Two key elements of this strategy are school choice and major choice.
School Choice and the Importance of a Balanced School List
While admission rates are decreasing, recent data shows an increase in overall college enrollment. The latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Center, which tracks admissions statistics, shows that total college enrollment increased 4.3% in 2022.
Now, when we break the data down further, we see some interesting trends based on institutional selectivity.
Among 4-year public institutions that are characterized as Very Competitive, Competitive, and Less Selective, we see an average increase in enrollment of 4.7%. However, at Highly Selective institutions, there is a 2% decrease in enrollments.
Similarly, among 4-year private institutions that are characterized as Very Competitive, Competitive, and Less Selective, we see an average increase in enrollment of 4.8%. However, at Highly Selective institutions, there is again a 2% decrease in enrollments.
So how does this affect your college application strategy? Well, it confirms the need for a balanced school list. Given the overall decline in both admission rates and enrollments at Highly Selective institutions, it is advised that you apply to schools where you statistically stand a greater chance of acceptance. Berkeley2 Academy is here to help you determine which schools you should be targeting.
Major Choice and the Importance of Alternative Majors
We are also seeing some interesting enrollment trends among the 4 most-popular major choices: Business & Marketing, Computer & Information Science, Engineering, and Biological & Biomedical Sciences.
For Business & Marketing and Computer & Information Science, we are seeing increases in enrollments at Undergraduate 4-Year institutions (top line of the chart). Business & Marketing enrollments increased 1.2% over the last year, while Computer & Information Sciences enrollments increased 10.4%!
Interestingly, we are seeing decreases in enrollments for Biological & Biometric Sciences and Engineering at Undergraduate 4-Year institutions (top line on the chart). Biological & Biometric Sciences enrollments decreased 2.4% over the last year while Engineering enrollments decreased 1.2%.
So, what does this mean? Well, for starters, it is obvious that Computer & Information Science is becoming an increasingly saturated field. Therefore, it has become increasingly difficult to gain admittance as a Computer Science major at Highly Selective institutions.
The increase in Business & Marketing enrollments can be attributed to many different factors. These could be the growing popularity of independent entrepreneurship or the increased connections between technology and business. Regardless of the reasons, Business, which has long been a competitive major, remains so.
The decline in enrollments for Engineering and Biological & Biomedical Sciences could be due to multiple factors. Reduced admission rates (especially at state schools), coupled with the lack of access to internships and research opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic may explain the decline in Biological & Biomedical Sciences enrollments. Furthermore, the overwhelming popularity of Computer Science has detracted from various Engineering fields. Regardless, a decline in enrollments should not be taken as a sign that these majors are becoming less competitive.
So what does this mean for your college application strategy? For starters, it confirms that a decision to apply to any of these four majors requires early commitment to academics and relevant extracurricular activities. It also suggests the need to explore alternative majors that increase admission chances while still providing pathways to strong careers. Berkeley2 Academy is here to help you determine which major choice is right for you!