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Admission Stats 2010--Read 'Em But Don't Weep

Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone 3064 replies1114 threadsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
edited April 2010 in College Admissions
"Applications to Selective Colleges Rise as Admission Rates Fall" proclaims tonight's headline in Jacques Steinberg's New York Times admission blog, "The Choice."

This news was, at least for me, a whole lot easier to predict than this month's Final Four. (Well, okay, I did have Duke.)

While many parents and students will find it disheartening to read the admission stats at some of the most sought-after universities, I hope that those of you who didn't get the news you'd hoped for from a top-choice college will realize what excellent company you're in.

(See Applications to Selective Colleges Rise as Admission Rates Fall - The Choice Blog - NYTimes.com)

Instead of reminding you how frustrating and seemingly capricious this process can be, these numbers, instead, show how many amazing applicants are in the same boat. Surely many of the 93.08% turned away by Harvard or the 92.82% denied at Stanford will go on to be celebrated world leaders, renowned writers, inspiring artists, international business tycoons, or happy and successful in dozens of other ways.

And for those of you who want to see how these numbers play out in the weeks ahead, "The Choice" will continue to keep track as enrollment data becomes available. (Go to 2010 Admissions Tally - The Choice Blog - NYTimes.com )

Personally, the only numbers I'll be watching will be on the Blue Devils side of the scoreboard ... my one chance to stay alive in the family pool. ;)
edited April 2010
71 replies
Post edited by Sally_Rubenstone on
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Replies to: Admission Stats 2010--Read 'Em But Don't Weep

  • Idiosyncra3yIdiosyncra3y 978 replies26 threads Member
    Yeah, agreed. Another point though that I think we all should note is that many of these admissions stats will seem more selective than they really are. Because students are applying to so many schools, many people who are in the applicant pool are not really competing with you, either because for them the school is a huge reach, or a safety and they will not attend. A final possibility is that after being accepted they will go to a peer school.

    Simply, some in the pool are applying out of blind hope, others are overqualified and will not attend, and finally many others will go to somewhere else very similar. Thus, these statistics will make colleges seem far more selective than they actually are.
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  • roderickroderick 1108 replies380 threads Senior Member
    What is a good criterion or touchstone to determine whether a college is a selective school?

    Is there a pctage of app accepted? One that rejects your application :) ?
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  • WindCloudUltraWindCloudUltra 1703 replies58 threads Senior Member
    Actually, just by applying to a place like Harvard or Stanford, you're already in elite company. You are hundreds of times more fortunate than most others of your age currently alive. There are some 1.1 billion people aged between 15-25 in the world. Let's say there are a half a billion people college-aged. At any time, (let's assume about 10,000 undergrads at your average university and let's take the top 30 American schools) there are about 300,000 students at these most highly-ranked universities. If you attend one of these institutions, you are in fact part of a lucky .06% of college-aged students in the world attending world class institutions. Even if we take into consideration great schools all over the world, I doubt that we're looking at more than 1-2%. Be grateful, and celebrate when that acceptance letter arrives. If you get a few rejections in between, take a moment and consider how lucky you already are.

    [Stats people...feel free to correct my 2 minute calculations...I may be way off...but I hope my general point stands.]

    Also, I hope I don't come off as moralizing; I'm simply trying to give jittery high school seniors a bit of perspective. :)
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  • MeSsIaH.MeSsIaH. 619 replies27 threads Member
    I agree with idiosyncra3y, the acceptance rate really doesn't mean much. It probably isn't much harder to get into top schools than it was say 10 years ago, just that the "just apply, if you don't apply your chance is 0%" mentality has propogated (app fees, yay)
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  • pwoodspwoods 1078 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @Messiah
    It's certainly true that one reason for the increasing selectivity is that more students apply to schools despite being woefully underqualified, but look at the statistics of the students who are rejected. It may not be much tougher to get into a certain school today than it was a few years ago, but it's probably slightly harder than it was 10 years ago, and much, much harder than 20 years ago!
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  • hotinpursuithotinpursuit 698 replies21 threads Member
    Even if we take into consideration great schools all over the world, I doubt that we're looking at more than 1-2%. Be grateful, and celebrate when that acceptance letter arrives. If you get a few rejections in between, take a moment and consider how lucky you already are.
    Great post, WindCloudUltra.
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  • junglebootsjungleboots 17 replies3 threads New Member
    they forgot Princeton and Brown: 19% and 20% rise in applications respectively. :)
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  • EricLGEricLG 641 replies4 threads Member
    Ivy league appls are a pain. Why are students applying in greater numbers ?
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  • Beretta9mmBeretta9mm 573 replies26 threads Member
    ^So that they can tell people they applied to Ivy. Too many students who think that they need to justify their ego by doing this.
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  • wexs883198215wexs883198215 40 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Way too many kids fool themselves into thinking they are Ivy material, and no one has the guts to tell them that they have no shot.
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  • bsmdncechick23bsmdncechick23 106 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I agree, WindCloudUltra....I'm expecting a few rejections today, but just knowing I'm lucky enough to go to college (not one of the millions impoverished teens or child soldiers, etc. around the world) will make them all the easier to bear. There are much more important things in life. :)
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  • Old College TryOld College Try 304 replies6 threads Member
    "Ivy league appls are a pain. Why are students applying in greater numbers?"

    We discussed this with our AP Psy teacher, who is like 70 years old. He told us that our generation received way too much postive reinforcement. From the time we were kids, we've been told that we're special and all that when in fact most of us are, by definition, average. All of us received trophies in soccer, ribbons in art, etc. According to him, our parents' primary parenting goal was to instill confidence in us so they lied to us about our personal worth. So that's why so many of us think we're Ivy worthy when we're not.

    In my opinion, he's in need of therapy himself, so whatever.
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  • porkpersonporkperson 1948 replies123 threads Senior Member
    Wow, your teacher has a horrible outlook.
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  • motion12345motion12345 1492 replies92 threads Senior Member
    Seeing as half of the applicant pool to these schools has above a 2100 SAT score, I doubt that many of these kids are not "Ivy worthy" and are "average" seeing as an average SAT score is 1500...
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  • SDonCCSDonCC 2324 replies49 threads Senior Member
    I think that Old College Try's teacher has a point. I don't agree that parents necessarily lie to their children, but their is definitely a sense of entitlement now.
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  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone 3064 replies1114 threadsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
    In my experience, there are many more outstanding applicants who are turned away by the Ivies (and other hyper-selective colleges) than there are those who were reaching far too high by applying.

    Over the years I've been told by admission officials from two different Ivy League schools that they actually cried when moving their favorite folders into the "out" pile. (So if you were rejected by any top-choice college, don't assume that someone behind those closed doors didn't love you and lobby for you. Often the candidates that admission folks "like" the best are denied nonetheless for a range of reasons.)

    And as for students who are unrealistic applicants to begin with, sometimes it's the colleges themselves that are to blame. I've seen students in my orbit receive encouraging mail from an Ivy when, in fact, these kids don't have the slightest prayer of ever being admitted.

    While I would never insist that an advisee not try for "dream school," no matter how steep the odds, I do find myself often pointing out that there is a big difference between a letter that says "We want you to apply" and one that actually says, "We want you."
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  • MontegutMontegut 5518 replies606 threads Senior Member
    I think OCT's teacher has a very good point. Because my son did well on the ACT and SAT, and then got National Merit Semifinalist, he was led to believe that he could get into a top school, and that he would surely get excellent scholarships at lesser ranked, but good, privates/parochial. Still, we encouraged son to apply to "lower ranked" out of state schools that would offer him excellent scholarships based on his scores and NM standing. Thank goodness he did. His private/parochial choices gave him good scholarships, but would still require us to take out 20 to 30K a year in loans. He applied to a few of the top 10 cc school, one of which is local, and they were obligated to accept him, one in the south that waitlisted him, and one in the northeast that rejected him. However, the "lesser ranked" southern state schools each offered him full tuition, some with housing included, and some with everything paid, plus perks. These "lesser ranked" schools "showed him the love". He was accepted into their wonderful honors programs and was able to choose which one was the best fit. There's a lot to be said about going to a place that wants you.
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  • motion12345motion12345 1492 replies92 threads Senior Member
    How do you define those that are 'reaching far too high by applying?'

    I mean, I have a 2220 SAT I score and a 3.75 unweighted GPA at a fairly competitive suburban public school and, based on those alone, I'm starting to have a feeling that I was reaching far too high by applying...
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  • ChasingRabbitsChasingRabbits 93 replies2 threads Junior Member
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

    -Wayne Gretzky
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  • glidoglido 5981 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Sally made some very good points. Many of you guys ARE Ivy material, but the Ivies don't have room for all of you. Also, the Admissions Committees are fallible, just because you are worthy of admission to their university does not mean that they are going to figure that out. The good news is that the AdComms do not define you. That is your job and yours alone.
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