Record number of students apply to CSU during Colorado Free Application Days

CSU Plaza

Colorado State University has once again exceeded its record for the number of applications received during the state’s free application days, getting more interest from diverse and first-generation students than ever before. 

“Since the first Colorado Free Application Day in October 2018, this time of year has become a pretty important benchmark in our admissions process,” Director of Admissions Heather Daniels said. “I am so happy the State of Colorado continues to support this initiative, and that CSU continues to be successful in receiving so many applications from our Colorado students.”

Colleges and universities participated in “Colorado Free Application Day$” from Oct. 19-21. CSU was one of the few that extended its deadline to Oct. 25 in an effort to give busy students an extra weekend to apply.

CSU ultimately surpassed last year’s record number of applications during this window, receiving  10,824 applications from Oct. 19-25, up from 10,346 during the same period in 2020, and 9,143 in 2019. 

In addition to increasing the overall number of applications, more racially diverse and first generation students applied this year than ever before. Total applications from racially diverse students increased from 33.4% in 2020 to 34.7% in 2021.

2021 Colorado Free Application Day$ by the numbers

  • 10,824: The number of applications CSU received between Oct. 19-25
  • 34.7%: The percentage of applications CSU received from racially diverse students.
  • 30.3%: The percentage of applications CSU received from first-generation students.

Meanwhile, applications from first-generation students grew from 24.2% in 2020 to 30.3% in 2021.

Colorado Free Application Day$ is coordinated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. This is the fourth year of the statewide initiative that has grown from one to three days and is aimed at keeping Colorado’s top students in the Centennial State for their higher education, in addition to increasing access for underrepresented populations. 

This is the second year that Colorado’s colleges and universities have been test optional, meaning that prospective students do not need to include their ACT or SAT scores in their applications.

The test optional policy and events like Colorado Free Application Days are factors that helped CSU enrollment hold steady despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Fort Collins campus enrolled its third-largest first-year class ever in 2021.

“Eliminating the application fee is one of the first steps in providing access for all students to the admissions process,” Daniels said. “We are excited to see the increased number of minoritized populations participate in Free Application Days, but know that we have more work to do.  

“We need to continue to make our application available to students and provide application fee waivers for students. Submitting an application for admissions is the first step. We must continue to support students throughout the entire enrollment process.”