Will TCU’s Football Success Affect Admissions?


TCU playing at the College Football Playoff National Championship game. Photo by Campbell Beebe ’23.

Caroline Sanders, Co-Editor in Chief

“Now TCU is on the forefront of everyone’s mind,” TCU’s Dean of Admission, Heath Einstein, said, regarding future college applications.

With about 10,000 undergraduates as a private university, TCU has always been smaller in comparison to the larger public schools in Texas, with the University of Texas at Austin around 40,000 and Texas A&M around 58,000. As of 2022, there were about 2,500 students that enrolled in the TCU freshman class. However, since TCU had their fighting journey to the College Football Playoff National Championship in January of 2023, it is predicted that their future application numbers will increase dramatically. 

“The majority of our applications come in by the November 1 deadline,” Einstein said. “Our team didn’t surge into the national spotlight until well after students decided where they were applying, so the number of applications we received this year is unlikely to be as greatly affected as next year’s. Where we see the impact this year is in what’s called our yield.” 

A yield is a term in admissions for what describes a percent of students who accept an offer of admission to a university. Colleges admit a certain number of applicants with the expectation that not everyone will enroll. This year, students who are getting into TCU, who might not have seen it as their first choice before, are more seriously considering it, and accepting more often. This means that TCU’s yield is up, particularly unexpectedly. 

“What that means for the students who applied in the regular decision round is that we had to be more conservative with our offers of admission,” Einstein said.  

This also affected the students who applied for early decision round two, which came out on March 3. TCU is a very popular school for FWCD students, with a large number applying every year. (In 2022, 38 students applied and 30 were accepted. In 2021, 31 applied and 22 were accepted. In 2020, 38 applied and 33 were accepted. In 2019, 36 applied and 31 were accepted.)

Attending a university that has a successful athletic team, specifically a football team, seems to be important to many high school students, who aspire for that kind of college experience.

“You can look at a lot of different colleges and find that when athletic success hits, particularly unexpectedly, you typically do see a small surge in applications the next year,” Einstein said. “The proof of this, for us, is just 12 years ago when we won the Rose Bowl in January of 2011, and the next year our applications went up close to 36 percent.”

Ben Blahitka ‘23 will be attending TCU next year and will be in the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences. 

“It was important to me that the college I decided on had a football team. It was a factor that contributed to all the colleges I applied to,” Blahitka said.  

FWCD senior Julia Clinkscale will be attending TCU next year and will also be in the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences. With her family being large supporters of TCU, she also traveled to Los Angeles to watch the CFP National Championship game. 

“My family has gone to the TCU games for years, even when they weren’t as good. So being able to all be together to watch the game was not only an exciting experience, but it was also extremely special,” Clinkscale said. “It honestly solidified my decision to go there.”

So, even though TCU didn’t win the game, the national exposure that the University itself received from the football season this year will impact the school for years to come. With quarterback Max Duggan being runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and winning the Davey O’Brien award, TCU’s football program has had a lot of attention, from Fort Worth residents and the rest of the country as well. It is speculated that many alumni and donors will undoubtedly give money to the school, so there is no telling how much TCU will actually benefit from this one football season. 

Additionally, because TCU went to the CFP National Championship, they received a payout speculated at about $6 million dollars, that was split evenly throughout the Big 12 conference. However, what many people don’t consider is how expensive it is for teams to actually go to the National Championship. TCU was held accountable in paying for travel, food, and other expenses having to do with the football team. So, the amount of money that TCU actually gained from this experience is currently unknown.

The annual tuition for TCU is about $52,000 and including room and board it rounds to about $66,000/year to attend the school. However, it is common for the school to give out need-based financial aid and merit scholarship money in order to lower this price and make it more affordable. 

According to FWCD college counselors, Kristen Larsen and Sarah Casarez, students from FWCD’s class of 2022 last year received more than $14.3 million in academic scholarships and other merit-based awards, with TCU being one of the many contributors. 

“Country Day does a great job at preparing their students to succeed at TCU, and we have a lot of data to support that…We will always be fond of our friends down the street here in Fort Worth,” Einstein said.