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College admissions rates continue to drop


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

For high school students graduating in the Class of 2014, gaining acceptance to their college of choice is getting harder and harder. No longer is it enough to have a high grade point average, impressive test scores and long list of extracurricular activities. In an attempt to gain the slightest edge that could mean the difference between acceptance and rejection, many high school seniors are submitting record numbers of college applications each year.

Schools become more selective
The rising Class of 2018 faced a significant challenge when applying to college. Although college enrollment has slowed since its peak in 2011, a growing number of international students has increased the quantity and quality of applicants vying for limited spots, especially at selective colleges.

According to The New York Times, many selective colleges are experiencing tight competition between applicants. Some of the admissions directors at these schools even say there is little to no difference between students who get accepted and those who are denied admission, adding an element of chance and frustrating students in the process.

"One of the ways that colleges are measured is by the number of applicants and their admit rate, and some colleges do things simply to increase their applicant pool and manipulate those numbers," Christoph Guttentag, the dean of undergraduate admission at Duke University, told The New York Times.

The application cycle
Efforts on behalf of some schools to increase the number of applications seems to be working. The source noted that more schools now accept the Common Application, and that is one of the reasons almost 30 percent of students apply to seven colleges or more.

"Kids see that the admit rates are brutal and dropping ..." Bruce Poch, a former admissions dean at Pomona College, told The New York Times. "So they send more apps, which forces the colleges to lower their admit rates, which spurs the kids next year to send even more apps."

While students may find this news discouraging, it highlights the importance of considering a variety of schools in your college search. In addition to reach schools, or those that represent an admission challenge, be sure to include mid-range schools where you have a good but not 100 percent chance of acceptance, and safety schools where you're sure to be accepted.

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