The Changing Landscape of College Admissions

The Changing Landscape of College Admissions



By Admissions Expert, Dr. Paul Lowe

For years, elite colleges have tried to address a proportional decline of students arriving from areas beyond metropolitan and suburban areas. These colleges have been implementing additional measures to address diversity issues on college campuses. Increasingly, private elite colleges are seeking small-town and rural students. 

One thing has not changed with regard to college admissions and diversity. Recent studies by the National Center for Education Statistics have shown that even with Affirmative Action policies, Black and Latino students are more underrepresented at these colleges and the percentages of students in these schools have remained flat over the last 35 years. The only increase in percentage of students by race are Asian students. 

Research studies have shown admissions biases against rural students with financial needs; and found that leadership roles popular in rural communities, such as 4H clubs, Future Farmers of America and ROTC worked against the students who claimed them on applications. As a result of the decrease in students from low-income and working-class white families from rural areas, colleges are now increasing their admissions effort to recruit these students. 

What are some of the elite and selective colleges doing to address these issues? Swarthmore has a created a program called Small Town Swarthmore. Princeton has increased their recruitment efforts through transfer programs from community colleges to help students from rural backgrounds. 

Colleges want U.S. geographical diversity, not just students predominantly from metropolitan and suburban areas. As schools implement their plans to increase diversity in their incoming classes based on rural students (as well as Black, Latino and Indigenous students), expect to see a change in demographics on elite college campuses that properly reflect the diversity of the U.S. population. 


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Greenwich Admissions Advisors. Tel. (203) 542-7288, and founder of Ivy League Admissions Advisors a part of the Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network.  

Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for families and students who are interested in applying to top private schools, Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs. Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been wait-listed and rejected. Dr. Lowe and his Greenwich Admissions Advisors team provide house-calls for families with extremely busy schedules who can’t come to their office.