Top or highly selective colleges/universities getting harder or the same for last 5 or 10 years?

Hi, we’ve been out of the college application for a while. So I would like to know what is the trend for last 5 or 10 years? is everything getting harder? or staying the same?
what are the changes that you guys see in the admission ?
Thanks in advance

More difficult in terms of admission rates?

Trends as far as applicant profiles? Number of applicants? Favored demographics?

If you are talking about admissions (i.e. how hard it is to be accepted) it is definitely more difficult to be accepted today than it was 10 years ago. It seems as if acceptance rates are dropping every year - I’m just waiting for the day that some school has an acceptance rate of 1% . . .

Thank you, Thorsmom66. Exactly. I was asking about how hard is to be accepted.
That is hard for the kids who are applying now days. How the kids manage to get into this top and/or highly selective colleges?

yes vpa2019. I was thinking about admission rates. thanks for asking.

Admission rates are definitely dropping and the decision to go test optional seems to have accelerated it even more this cycle.

Thinking about Thorsmom66 observation about admission rates getting lower, I am guessing that kids have to do more than before. Assuming a kid has the grades and scores, what is the new standard about extracurriculars, volunteering, etc., to have any chance in the top colleges/universities?

got it. Because test option, kids apply to more top colleges hmmm. Does it have any advantage if the student actually takes the test sat/act ?

The SAT/ACT are helpful if your scores are in the 50th percentile or better for the school. If, however, your scores are in the 25th percentile or lower, test optional would probably be a better strategy. What I can’t emphasize enough, however, is that even with perfect grades/rigor/scores and fantastic ECs, top 20 schools are a long shot for most students. If, however, you are a legacy, a recruited athlete or have some notable academic accomplishment (or other national recognition of some kind) your chances will be higher (in some cases, much higher). Unfortunately, top schools have more outstanding applicants than they can possibly accept so while I don’t discourage anyone from applying (you never know), it is really important to have target/safety schools that you really like so you have places where your chance of admission is high. Every year there is at least one kid on CC who applies only to top 30 schools and is shut out - you don’t want that to be you!!

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For UCs, you can go to Freshman fall admissions summary | University of California and compare frosh admit rates over the years by (recalculated) HS GPA for the entire UC system or individual campuses.

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Grade inflation, more national competitions, everybody is founding a non-profit ( :thinking:), all make getting into top schools much more hard.

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It does if they score well.

thank you Thorsmom66. I get the pic. My kid is not legacy, a top athlete, or anything on those lines. A national recognition of some type ? hmmm… that is a time consuming endeavor.
Yes, I totally agree with you Thorsmom66. It is a wise strategy to have some target/safety schools on the list. It is good to shot for the starts with top/highly selective because as mention you never know.

omg! watermelon, grade inflation existed many years ago so I guess is worse now.
it seems everyone is doing national competitions and non-profits ? so is just not volunteering anymore. It is actually starting a non-profit ?

skieurope, thanks. I think scoring well means the students scores in the 90 or 95 percentile?

IMO, it means at the college’s median or higher. 95th percentile is about a 1420. While a great score, it is on the low side for HYPSM.


Whew, OOS and International grew dramatically since 2010 through 2016. More HS grads and more apps per grad due to common app, TO, lower admit rates, etc. Early decision is also growing.

Start a sustainable organization. Tangible leadership.

However, Eagle Scout, GS Gold, yearbook/newspaper editor, class/student body president, sports captains are all still a big deal. Long term commitment and contribution.

I recruited for a Fortune 50 company and a sorority/fraternity president at a lower ranked school would get a boost.

thank you skieurope. I’m glad I asked : )

thanks, tristatecoog. Got the pic. A clear leadership position is highly desirable.