As you likely know, acceptance rates are perpetually plummeting at elite universities and liberal arts colleges (and COVID-19 seems to have exacerbated the competition more than usual). For the class of 2025, this has been the most frustratingly competitive year yet for “top” schools (and the trends are likely to continue given the extension of test-optional policies at these institutions).
Some stats (note that some 2025 accept rates are approximated when the exact percentage hasn’t been officially announced):
Number of “T20” Universities (US News)…
…with ≤10% Accept Rate: 17
…with ≤15% Accept Rate: All
Number of “Top 15” LACs (US News)…
…with ≤10% Accept Rate: 8
…with ≤20% Accept Rate: All but one (Smith, #15)
So, has college admissions at the US’s top-ranked colleges become unsustainably competitive, when the vast majority of the highest ranked schools are ultimately denying more than 90% of their applicants? It’s heartbreaking seeing so many of my peers who have dedicated endless amounts of time and energy to their work, both in and out of school, along with their applications, getting denied by all of their favorite schools because of the sheer competition. While there are many fantastic, less selective schools out there, I am wondering if these “top” schools should be held accountable for the amount of competition they seek to create in order to boost their reputation (by trying to constantly inflate their app pool and deflate their acceptance rates).
Note: This is coming from someone who considers themself EXTREMELY fortunate in the admissions process this year, so this isn’t from a “sour grapes” perspective, rather from one that is genuinely concerned about how crazy this process has become.