Common App Trends – Jan 1, 2023

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: February 9, 2023

When examining application trends through early deadlines in Fall 2022, the team at Common App saw tremendous growth in applicant and application totals since the start of the Covid pandemic in 2019-2020. The numbers of applicants, applications, and applications per applicant have meaningfully increased since 2019-20; an underrepresented minority (URM1) and first-gen applicants are increasing at faster rates than their non-URM and continuing-gen counterparts; the majority of applicants continue to live in America’s wealthiest ZIP codes; and test score reporting has fallen slightly from last season and is still vary significantly across demographic subgroups. 

Here are the key findings in Common App’s most recent trend report (data through January 1, 2023):


% change



# First year applicants applying to 841 returning Common App member colleges

↑ 20%



# Applications

↑ 24%



Average # applications

↑ 4%



# URM applicants

↑ 30%


# First-gen applicants

↑ 35%

Nearly 3x rate of

“continuing gen” applicants


# Common App fee waiver requests

↑ 47%

> 4x rate of non-fee-waiver applicants


# International applicants

↑ 45%

Leading countries: China, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Canada


# Domestic applicants

↑ 17%



Applications to public members

↑ 39%



Applications to private members

↑ 13%



# Applications to highly selective (25-49%)

↑ 40%



# Applications to most selective (< 25%)

↑ 33%




About 56% of domestic applicants live in the most affluent quintile (i.e., top 20%) of ZIP codes nationwide, compared to just 6% from the bottom quintile. These trends were similar to those observed in prior years’ early applying periods, but represent a slight shift from November 2022 (when 61% of applicants resided in the most affluent zip codes). This likely reflects application activity for regular decision deadlines, which Common App has shown in their research to reflect more socioeconomically diverse applicant pools than early decision and early action. 

After a steep decline in standardized test score reporting rates from 2019-20 (78%) to 2020-21 (44%) and a slight rebound in 2021-22 (48%), trends through January 1 suggest a leveling-off of reporting in 2022-23 (47% of applicants reported a score in an application this season). The stark differences in test score reporting by student demographics (URM, first-gen, fee waiver recipient, and sex) persisted through January 1 of this season.

Below you’ll find graphical representations of these data…

  1. Common App uses the term underrepresented minority (URM) in alignment with conventions employed by the National Science Foundation. In their report, applicants identifying as Black or African American, Latinx, Native American or Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are classified as URM applicants.

% Increase from 2020 2021 2022 2023

Account Application Per Applicant

Trends Accross US States

International Applicants Increased

Trends in Applicents Test Score Trend

Test Score Reporting Rate

Application to Public Private

Application Increased Across Selective Sub Groups


Topics: Common App Trend


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