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Why is Getting into College Getting Tougher? Part 2

This post is the second part of the two part series for why college seems to be getting harder to get into. The first part outlined 6 possible reasons to why this difficulty in getting into college has occurred. The first part only covered the first 3 reasons.

This post focuses on the other three possible reasons:

4.) Expanded Scope

As information becomes even easier to both find and send, students are increasingly looking at colleges and universities outside of their own regions. Their scope expands to schools which may be far away from home. Moreover, this expanded search also allows students to learn about smaller or more unique schools in their own region which are not usually touted by guidance counselors or parents. In certain areas, students are looking to other regions because their local institutions are becoming overcrowded. In fact, California students make up a large portion of the student body at the University of Oregon.

5.) Bragging Rights

Colleges want to advertise a low admission rate because it signals selectivity. In turn, students often apply to these institutions because admission would make them feel like a member of an elite few. Moreover, it is also nice to be able to brag about multiple acceptances, rather than just talk about the single school at which you matriculated.

6.) Grade and Credential Improvements

A 4.0 GPA was once the pinnacle of all academic achievements. However, as course options and advanced programs expanded, weighted GPAs emerged, intended to reward those students who challenged themselves. To match their impressive GPAs, students also apply with more impressive portfolios and résumés than ever before.

Although the competition continues to intensify, this is not necessarily a negative pattern. The rise in applicants and applications indicates improved access to information for prospective college students. An article in The Atlantic brought up the “Myth of Selectivity,” which explains that getting into college is and is not becoming more difficult. Essentially, it has become harder to be admitted to a specific school, but not necessarily to be admitted to a college in a more general sense. Despite being rejected by one particular school, students almost always receive acceptances to some colleges. Moreover, the pressures of the admissions process drive some students to strive even harder and achieve more than they had ever dreamed possible. The best practice is to try to find the best fit for you and to keep in mind that there are many different colleges across the country, each with its own mission and acceptance standards.

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee