Competition for college admission to the top schools is getting tougher. That’s the kind of advice that can be very discouraging to some students. Harvard recently received more than 9,000 applications from students who had scored higher than 1400 on their SAT. And every year Stanford receives more applications from high school valedictorians than they could possibly admit. And there are similar stories at all the elite colleges and universities around the nation.
It’s very clear that the competition for college admission to the elite schools is getting tougher every year. Many of them reported record numbers of applications for college admission last year. But the good news is they have to admit someone and there’s still not much reason to pay for college admission advice as that’s not likely to help much…especially when it comes to gaining admission to one of the elite schools.
It’s important to keep this college admissions news in perspective. The first thing to realize is that although the news is true, the media tends to focus only on the elite schools. Don’t assume that’s the case at all schools and have a panic attack because the facts are that while you’ll have a hard time getting into Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc. it’s still not overly difficult for qualified applicants to gain admission to a quality college or university.
Certainly there are a few dozen elite schools that accept fewer than 25% of the applicants each year. But consider that there are over 2,500 four year colleges and universities in America and you’ll begin to realize how many other choices you have. There are plenty of quality schools still looking for students to fill out their freshman classes.
The reality of the situation is that the few dozen elite schools get to pick the cream of the crop and the rest of the schools are fighting to attract high caliber college students. You’ll be hard pressed to find more than a few dozen schools that accept less than 25% of college admissions application and only about 50 that accept less than half. That leaves a lot of opportunity on the table. Look on the bright side, if you are accepted to your second choice, there’s a good chance they’ll want you more and offer you a better financial aid packager than the other college or university. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even end up with a full scholarship that will leave you debt-free upon college graduation. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
If you are a stellar student, the best college admissions advice may be to apply to one or more “stretch” schools where your admissions chances are not at all guaranteed but have one or more fallback schools that you find acceptable and where your admission is probable. If you put all your eggs in one basket and count on getting accepted to an Ivy League school or Stanford or Northwestern you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. Do the smart thing and also apply to a few other quality schools.