College Admissions: Getting Into College Is Now Easier, A Surprise For Most Students

"There are always news and headlines about how the number of applications spike in prestigious colleges which trigger fear among many students. In reality, it is actually easier to get into these colleges than the previous years.

What many students do not realize is that getting into a good college today is a lot easier, and will become so in the coming years, according to the Hechinger Report. It is important to correct this mindset because it is one of the reasons why students do not bother to apply anymore or settle for lower quality schools, when they could have actually been accepted to much better institutions." …

That is just not true, if we are talking about the top 100 institutions. This report doesn’t take into consideration that the number of foreign students went from 564,766 in 2005 to 1,043,839 in 2015.

It looks like the number of international students is going to fall bigly under Trump, though.

for those hyper competitive students who need an ivy or Stanford to give themselves (or their parents)validation.
they bare a super heavy and unnecessary stress. if students actually went to the school that was the best fit for them most people would wind up and a school they have never thought of or possibly even heard of.

I thought Hechinger’s was a defunct hardware store chain.

So what? Just because you get in does not mean you can afford it. The cost of college is keeping kids away or searching out lesser schools. A middle class kid can most likely only afford the local CC or the city state school. The ability to get into a top school is not always the problem. Cost is. Very few can actually afford it. Some dive deep into debt but this is not necessarily wise.

@MassDaD68: A middle-class kid with top stats can get big scholarships.

@PurpleTitan As a middle class kid, I can tell you most “top” schools do not offer merit scholarships. They are need based, and often it is that middle class that winds up with a calculated EFC of 20-35 thousand dollars a dear, leading to debt. So, yes, it is cost that is a problem.

As for general scholarships… the likelihood of a student earning 80-140k in scholarships in high school is really sort of low and unreasonable to expect don’t you think? :slight_smile: Nope, most top schools don’t offer merit scholarships, but plenty that are better than the “local CC or the city state school” do, and yet that is what @MassDaD68 seems to think that kids who are middle class can do no better than.

It really depends on what you mean by “middle class”. For many (but not all) middle-class parents that do not qualify for any financial need aid, if they are proactive in their use of 529 accounts, live somewhat frugally and have no extenuating circumstances, they can look for schools that offer merit money in the $15k to $30k per year, which can work very well on making a private or out-of-state public school affordable.

This is not true for the most competitive schools. In 2015, the Ivies received over 250,000 applications while in 2005 the Ivies received 150,000 applications. That’s an increase in applications in ten years of over 65%.

@foobar1 , don’t you think the main criteria for deciding overall how hard the game of musical chairs is the number of students vs. the number of slots?

If that goes down, then it is easier overall to get a chair, regardless of any one institutions’ individual changes. Right?

@PurpleTitan I would put middle class around the $150K annual income range and YES tippy top kids will get good aid. But by definition, the tippy top is a very small number. That leaves all the other kids paying full price or close to it.

The reality is that most kids do not have that many college choices out there. Higher education has done a terrible job trying to reach middle class kids that are not “tippy top”. Everyone chases the tippy top kids.

There are plenty of successful people who went to CC or the local city school. That is not a slam on them. It is just that they are the most reasonable cost to a student who is willing to live at home and commute. Those are the only ones who have attempted to offer an education to the middle class. Private school has all but abandoned this entire class of students.

@MassDaD68 , why do you think that is? And what can or should be done?

When did private school ever embrace those students? They were too expensive for my MC family way back in the dark ages of the early 90s. Don’t most MC kids go to public universities for undergrad, even now? I went to my state flagship and that was the norm for kids like me, who did quite well in high school but who didn’t come from wealthy families.

@MassDaD68 Your estimate of middle class is way over the median income in the US!

What you are saying about affordabilty for families in 100K income range is true of elite private schools. It’s really not hard for families to have an EFC of half their income, especially at CSS schools that add in your home equity. (We live in a hot real estate market.)

However there are non-elite, less highly ranked LACs that give generous aid to non tippy-top kids. They often require compromises, such as less exciting location, lack of engineering school, etc, but for my kid that really wanted a smaller school than her in-state public options, we found one we can afford.

It’s costing more than in-state, but we can afford it.

The number of academically qualified applicants to the top schools has gone up a lot in the last ten years. One example is the number of AP scholars or IB graduates. In most school districts, this number has gone up more than 50%. Even if the overall number of high school graduates has decreased the number of high school students with excellent academic records has increased substantially in the last 10 or 15 years. This doesn’t even take into account the increased number of international applicants/students with solid academic records. indicates that $150,000 annually was around the 88th percentile household income for 2014. Median was around $55,000.

Families with high school or college age kids are probably somewhat higher, since the parents are presumably in their peak earning year, but not so much higher that $150,000 annually is outside the high end of the distribution.

Of course, if the middle class needs to have income that close to the top of the distribution, the implication is that the US is in or getting to a situation where most people are in the lower class, with only a few in the middle class and a tiny upper class. Countries with such social class distributions may have various social problems and/or political instability, particularly if those born into lower class families see no hope of moving up into the middle or upper class.

@Postmodern: Private schools charge what they charge because the demand is there. Plenty of rich and upper-middle-class folks in this country. And the tippy-top who care about getting the best can do so through fin aid.

As for what can or should be done: Nothing? Why not public colleges or uni in Germany or through something like Harvard Extension School/University of London International? It’s not like attending private college is a birthright of every American . . .

It’s hard to take the top-level article seriously when it is so badly written. And if you drill down to the cited report, it states: “while the most selective universities and colleges - those that accept less than 20 percent of applicants - have gotten even more competitive in recent years, the opposite is true for the much larger number that take between 20 percent and 40 percent.” So while the “most students” headline may be generally true, for those targeting the top schools (“those that accept less than 20 percent”) - which seems to be the majority of those who frequent this site - it is not.