How Competitive Is The College Admissions Game Becoming?

If you went to college in the 1990s, you probably remember the application process as being somewhat stressful. There may have been a lot of papers to fill out, an essay or two to write, and recommendation letters to be obtained. Well, that's nothing compared to what high school seniors (and their parents) go through today. The college admissions process has changed drastically, and the competition to gain a slot in an Ivy League or top-tier college has gotten incredibly fierce. Here's what you should know.

1. Top-ranking schools are flooded with applications, so admittance rates are dropping

There are plenty of lower-ranked schools out there that will accept half or more of the students who apply — but the same cannot be said of Ivy League schools, like Harvard and Yale, and top-tier schools, like the University of Chicago or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Those schools are getting more and more applications from hopeful students every year. Since they generally aren't expanding in size, that means a smaller and smaller admissions rate each year. Consider this: Harvard accepted 11.8% of its applicants to its freshman class in 1995. In 2021, they accepted only 4.92% of applicants.

2. Good test scores and great grades are no longer enough to make a student stand out

A few decades ago, a spot in the top 10 of your high school's graduating class and good scores on your SAT or ACT exam was enough to make you an attractive candidate for admission just about anywhere. Today, every student that applies to a top school has good test scores and great grades.

Now, admissions officers are looking a lot deeper into each applicant's transcripts, letters of recommendation, admissions essays, personal essays, and independent study projects for more clues about the value that each student will bring to the university in the form of accolades and their personal pursuits. Admissions officers in elite schools are looking for students who took Advanced Placement (AP) courses, students with special talents in the arts or sciences, and students who have proven their aptitude and drive through independent study.

What Can You Do to Give Your Student an Edge?

One of the best ways to take the guesswork out of the college admissions process is to look ahead — far ahead. Working with a college consultant from the time your student is a high school freshman can take a lot of the mystery out of the college admissions process. A college consultant can help your student define their academic goals and craft a plan that will help them build a stellar transcript. They can also guide your student in choosing the perfect extracurriculars or independent projects to make them a stand-out applicant at their preferred school.

About Me

College: It's the Experience

The reason why most people attend college is to learn and prepare for a career. But college is so much more than that. It has become an institution in our culture. It is during college that many people learn to relate to others socially, accept those who are different from them, and have effective arguments on a number of topics. Attending college will change your life for the better. If you are interested in learning more about college and what to expect, then spend a little time reading the articles on this website. They are written by people who value the college experience and want to help inform you.




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