Colleges Are as Nervous as High School Seniors

Schools scramble to lock in as many students amidst faltering economy
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2009 3:07 PM CST
Steven Roy Goodman, a college admissions strategist, left, speaks with his client, Kayani Bhatt, 17, of Bethesda, Md. as they discuss which colleges Bhatt would like to apply to.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – College admissions season is here, and for the first time in recent memory, it’s a students’ market, reports the New York Times. Amidst economic turmoil, nervous colleges are uncertain how many students will apply—so they plan to admit more applicants and offer greater financial aid. “It’s like the dot-com bubble burst for higher ed,” one enrollment officer said. "There’s a real leveling going on.”

In a nation full of bargain hunters, rising gas prices, and surging applications, colleges are trying new methods—like Webcam interviews—to gauge interest. Administrators have become skeptical of the statistical models they use to predict acceptances. “Trying to hit those numbers is like trying to hit a hot tub when you’re skydiving from 30,000 feet,” said one official.