Administrators Polled on Enrollments, Admission Tests, Legacy Preferences, Affirmative Action Ruling, AI, Campus Concerns, and More

NEW YORK, August 15, 2023 / — According to a July survey by The Princeton Review® of  administrators at 229 colleges nationwide, enrollments for fall 2023 are generally projected to be on par with those of fall 2022, admission test scores are optional at the majority of schools, and college level coursework (AP®, IB®, and dual enrollment) on applicants’ transcripts has gained in importance in admission decisions.

The Princeton Review’s College Administrator Summer 2023 Survey—the education services company’s 4th such annual survey—also asked administrators their views on trending topics. Among them: the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action, the use of AI in college applications and admissions, and which issues will be the top concerns among students and among administrators at their institutions in the school year ahead.

Key findings of the survey are below. A detailed report on the survey showing the 15 survey questions, answer choices, and the percent of respondents selecting each answer is downloadable at  The report presents findings by respondents overall, by school type (public/private) and by region. (See “About the Survey” below.)

Findings based on responses overall of surveyed administrators:

  • Fall 2023 enrollments are generally on par with or higher than those of fall 2022.
    Nearly half (42%) of the respondents said their fall 2023 enrollment will be about the same as that of fall 2022, 37% said they expect it to be higher, and 21% expect it to be lower.

  • The majority of colleges were test-optional for fall 2023.
    Nearly 9 out of 10 respondents (89%) said their institutions were test-optional (did not require but considered SAT,® ACT® or IB scores) for fall 2023. Only 1% said they required test scores; 10% said they were test blind/test free. Asked their admission test policies for 2024, 84% said they will be test-optional; 3% said they will require scores; 10% said they will be test blind/test free, and 3% said they are undecided. On a related topic: asked whether the Digital SAT (which debuts in the U.S. in spring 2024) will be an improvement over the current SAT, 9% said yes, 6% said no, and 85% were undecided.

  • College level coursework (AP, IB, and dual enrollment) on applicant transcripts has gained in importance in admission decisions.
    Asked to rate the relative importance of AP, IB, and dual enrollment coursework on applicant transcripts, 61% of respondents deemed such coursework important or very important in admission decisions—a 7% increase over the 54% of respondents so indicating on The Princeton Review’s College Administrator Summer 2022 Survey.  

  • The majority of colleges do not give preferences to legacy applicants.
    Asked their institution’s policies with respect to legacy applicants, 84% of respondents said their schools do not (and will not) give preference to legacy applicants; 13% said they do and will continue this practice; 3% said they are eliminating legacy preferences.

  • The majority of administrators oppose the Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning affirmative action.
    Asked their opinion of this Supreme Court ruling, 95% of respondents said race conscious admissions should have been sustained while 5% were in support of the ruling. Asked whether the ruling will impact their institution’s ability to enroll diverse classes of students, 53% said it won’t, 43% said it will, and 4% said their institution does not have such enrollment objectives. Among the 43% of respondents believing the ruling will impact their enrollment objectives, 63% of them said their institution has plans in place to mitigate the impact, 36% said their school will develop plans to do this, and 1% said such plans do not exist and are not being considered by their institutions.

  • The majority of administrators believe college DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) initiatives should be protected and promoted.
    Asked their opinion regarding proposals (or legislation) by governments, school boards, and others to block or restrict college DEI initiatives and programs, 98% of respondents said college DEI initiatives should be protected and promoted; 2% said they should be blocked or restricted.

  • Administrators’ opinions regarding the use of AI in college admissions are conflicted.
    Asked their opinion of the current and potential use of AI-based resources by administrators as well as by students in the college application and admissions processes, 9% said they are excited about it and 15% said they are concerned about it. The majority (72%) of respondents said they are both excited and concerned about it; 4% said they have no opinion about it.

  • Affordability will be the key concern among students this school year while academics will be the key concern among administrators. 
    Respondents were asked to rank four topics according to which they expect will matter most among their students and which will matter most among their fellow administrators in this school year. The four topics were: academics (quality and quantity of course offerings), affordability (cost of attendance and level of financial aid for students), health (campus protocols and medical services) and social justice (commitments to diversity and addressing discrimination). The topics respondents ranked as likely to matter most among their school’s students this year are: #1 affordability, #2 academics, #3 social justice, and #4 health. The topics respondents ranked as likely to matter most among their fellow administrators this year are: #1 academics, #2 affordability, #3 social justice, and #4 health.

About the Survey

The Princeton Review’s College Administrator Summer 2023 Survey was conducted online from July 1 to July 28. The 15-question multiple-choice survey was sent to administrators at 599 institutions including schools in the company's book The Best 389 Colleges: 2024 Edition (August 15, 2023) and schools featured in its website designation, 2024 Best Regional Colleges. The survey was completed by 229 administrators: 69% were from private colleges and 31% were from public colleges. The distribution of their school locations by region was: 28% Midwest, 22% Northeast,18% Mid-Atlantic,14% West, 12% South, and 6% Southwest. A full report on the survey showing findings by respondents overall, school type and region is downloadable here. An infographic depicting selected findings of the survey is posted here. Releases and reports on The Princeton Review’s 2022, 2021 and 2020 College Administrator Surveys can be found in the company’s Media Center.

Today, The Princeton Review also released its Best Colleges for 2024 ranking lists. The ranking lists annually name the top 25 schools in 50 categories that broadly cover academics, financial aid, school amenities, career services, campus culture, and more. The lists are entirely based on data from the company’s surveys of 165,000 students attending the schools in its Best Colleges guidebook. The 85-question student survey for this project asks students to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences at them. The ranking lists are posted on here and published in The Best 389 Colleges, 2024 Edition (Penguin Random House, August 15, 2023).

About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep, and college admissions services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school–bound students as well as working professionals achieve their education and career goals through its many education services and products. These include online and in-person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors; online resources; more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House; and dozens of categories of school rankings. Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review is now in its 42nd year. The company’s brand, now in its 23rd year, is one of the largest online tutoring services in the U.S. It comprises a community of thousands of tutors who have delivered more than 24 million one-to-one tutoring sessions. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University. For more information, visit and the company’s Media Center. Follow the company on Twitter (@ThePrincetonRev) and Instagram (@theprincetonreview).

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SOURCE: The Princeton Review


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CONTACT: Jeanne Krier, Publicist for The Princeton Review,

NOTE TO EDITORS: Rob Franek , Editor-in-Chief, The Princeton Review, and David Soto, Senior Director of Data Operations, are available for interviews.