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Multiple College Applications SAT

Bean, Andrew G.; Centra, John A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic Achievement, College Admission, College Bound Students, Discriminant Analysis, High School Seniors, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Sex Differences, Virginia


A sample of 18,601 Virginia high school seniors was used to gather information regarding multiple college application practices. Approximately 35 percent of the college applicants filed one application, 26 filed two applications, 24 percent filed three applications and 16 filed four or more applications. Eighty-five percent of the students who filed one application were accepted while 91 percent of the four or more application group were accepted by at least one of their first three college choices. Discriminant analysis was used to describe the academic characteristics of students filing multiple applications and to determine how these academic characteristics were related to college acceptance. Students who filed multiple applications tended to have higher SAT scores; however, they performed less well in high school than would be predicted from their SAT scores. High school performance appeared to be less important for females in gaining admission than it was for males. The findings of this study contradict the popular beliefs that most college applicants file three or more applications and that more applications are filed by students with low academic ability.

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