College Selectivity Rises In California and Around the Country

There was a flurry of newspaper articles this weekend about college admissions and the increase in selectivity this year.  It was a frustrating year for many students who thought they were qualified for admission to top UC and out-of-state universities.

It’s important to remember that rejection does NOT mean a student is not qualified; it’s simply a matter of numbers.  Highly selective colleges do not have enough seats to accommodate the large number of smart, talented students who apply each year.  Keep in mind that there are about 35,000 high schools in the United States; each one has (at least) a valedictorian, a yearbook Editor-in-Chief, a student body President, etc.  Stanford, for example, received over 42,000 applications for spaces in next year’s freshman class, which will have about 1,700 students.

The Los Angeles Times’ article about highly selective college admissions is here.  I’d like to emphasize NACAC President Katy Murphy’s point that students should look beyond name, reputation and ranking.  There are 2,200 four-year colleges in the U.S., and most are not as well-known as, well, the well-known ones.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t great schools.

And please make sure you read all the way to the end of the article, where Eagle Rock senior Sarah notes that after receiving seven rejection letters, she “wishes she had more closely evaluated colleges and applied to fewer.”

As juniors begin to look at colleges and figure out where they will apply, keep these things in mind:

  • A good list has about 12-15 colleges.
  • A third of the schools should be schools where the student’s scores are solidly at the top of, or above, the college’s range, meaning the chances of the student being admitted are high.
  • Don’t apply to a college you would never attend.
  • Research EVERY college on your list to ensure that it fits you academically and socially; this could be your home for the next four years!

– The article about Vanderbilt’s declining admissions rate is here.
– The article from the LA Times about increasing competitiveness at UC campuses is here.

Helping students round out their list to include colleges where we are more confident they will be accepted – and comfortable that they will match their academic and social needs – is one of the things we love to do.  It’s why we spend so much time on the road, visiting colleges, meeting with students and faculty and taking photos so you can get a glimpse of what they are like.  You can see our reviews of out-of-state colleges here, and California colleges here.

As always, feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your student’s college search.  Juniors – it’s time – we are deep into the search with our juniors at this point!  For sophomores – we are happy to meet with you and discuss our comprehensive plan, which starts the first day of junior year – which is sneaking up much faster than you think!



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