Thinking About The Schools With The Lowest Acceptance Rates
Yikes! When looking over the admissions statistics for top schools in the previous post, it seems so easy to say, “What chance do I really have?” For example, Harvard takes in over 30,000 applications for just over 2,000 spots- a rate of 6.9%!
Certainly, it is no longer the 1950s where all you needed was some good test scores, a neatly written essay, and maybe a connection or two. As we all know, it now takes the best grades, best scores, and best extracurriculars. And even then, that’s not enough.
One hears scare stories all the time. I once heard an admissions officer at a top school say that when it came down to making the final decisions, they took the folders for each application in question and put them at the top of the stairs. The folders that slid to the bottom of the stairs first were in.
Now that story may have been hyperbole. But it gets to the point. How do you really decide between two 4.0 students with perfect SATs and excellent extracurriculars? Most likely, a large portion of the 30,000 applications Harvard accepts are not up to par. But even if one fifth of the applications are of students that are up to the school’s standards, the admissions committee still needs to find a way to whittle down 6,000 students to 2,000 students.
There’s a more optimistic way of looking at these numbers. If you’re one of those students whose folder didn’t slide fast enough, you’re not alone. You’ll join these students at a top school, just maybe not the top of the top. There are too many qualified students in the world for the available spots, so that pool is overflowing into the schools that are just one notch lower. Not only has this increased the reputation of these schools, but it also means that, just like Harvard or Stanford, these schools are filled with the brightest and hardest-working students in the world.
So yes, unfortunately, doing the best is no longer a guarantee of admissions. But, only by doing as good as you can- on your grades, standardized tests, and everything else you take on, not to mention the application itself- you will at least stand a chance. Every school you apply to increases your chances. And if you don’t get in, don’t kick yourself over what you think you did wrong. Almost certainly it was the luck of the draw. Where ever you end up, that same drive will allow you to succeed in college. Ultimately, that is far more important to your future success than what school you get into.
This post is titled, “Thinking About The Schools With The Lowest Acceptance Rates.” It was written by Jon B., a writer on Top Test Prep’s team.