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Why is Getting into College Getting Tougher? Part 1

A little insight as to why getting decent grades in high school just won’t be enough

This admissions season will go down in history as one of the toughest and competition for slots at Ivy League schools and prestigious liberal arts colleges continues to intensify.

A recent New York Times article pointed out that some more elite schools reject nearly 95% of applicants. However, admission to public universities is becoming increasingly difficult as well. Although acceptance rates are dropping, this does not mean the sky is falling for prospective college students. Let’s review some of the reasons behind the stiff competition (and talk about why this increase in difficulty might not be the worst thing to ever happen to future freshmen):

More Applicants

This one is quite simple—more students are interested in a college education than ever before. A college education means not only more earning potential, but also more job opportunities. Perhaps more importantly, a college degree provides more than just financial and professional benefits. Multiple studies have suggested that a university degree is linked to good health and more satisfied lives. A surge in international applicants also has contributed to the higher level of competition.

More Applications

It is important to consider the difference between a rise in applicants and a rise in applications. Not only are more students applying to college, they are also submitting more applications than ever before. This may be due, in part, to the increasing access to information and a more streamlined, on-line application process. Others have also explained the rise in applications as a reaction to dropping acceptance rates. As the rates decrease, some students begin to view an application as a lottery ticket and decide to submit more applications into what they see as a game of chance.

Easier Application Process

Believe it or not, prospective college students used to fill out applications by hand or with a typewriter. Since the applications required so much time and work, students were more selective. However, with the advent of the internet, on-line applications and word processing, this process has become far easier. This is one reason behind the rise in applications.

Now these are just a few of the reasons. Look out for the second blog post which covers some additional ones!

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee