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5 Reasons for Increasing Competition in College Admissions

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Each year, college applicants endure an admissions season even more competitive than the last.
Despite that there are only about fifty American colleges among a total of approximately 2000 that reject more students than they accept, each of these schools over the past few years have received more applications from prospective candidates than in any previous year, with no more seats to fill than in the past - thus rejecting an even higher percentage of their applicants and becoming that much more competitive.
Noting this trend causes observers to wonder why getting into top schools becomes more and more difficult each year.
The ever increasing level of competitiveness that we associate with admissions into elite colleges can be attributed to several factors: 1.
High school graduation rates across the country are at an all time high, despite the continued emphasis on drop out rates that nevertheless remain disappointing.
Now more of those graduating students are aware of the necessity of obtaining a post-secondary degree in order to be competitive in the job market and maximize their salary potentials.
This means more students applying to spots at institutions that aren't growing any larger.
2.
With increasing awareness of an increasingly competitive job market, parents of ambitious students are buying into the hype that admissions into the nation's most competitive schools will guarantee their children the success they've been reared for, (not to mention vying for the right to proudly associate their children with such name brand institutions).
3.
In 1975, the Common Application began making it possible for students to use one form to apply to several different schools - thus cutting down on the amount of time and paperwork involved in their admissions process.
However, as more colleges - the most competitive colleges, in particular - have become members, it has become easier for students on average to apply to a greater number of schools than they would have had time to bother with in the past, which is just what they've begun to do.
Whereas the average applicant to competitive colleges would submit 4-6 applications in the past, they are now more likely to submit upwards of 10-15 applications.
That means colleges across the board are receiving applicants that they would not have otherwise, thus making their pools more competitive - increasing their number of rejected and wait-listed students each year.
4.
Because competitive colleges wish to maintain their notoriety, they take great measures each year to keep from sliding down in the rankings of the nation's most elite schools.
Since one factor determining these rankings is based on how many students apply versus how many are accepted, it is in their best interests to see that more students apply in a given year than the previous, in order to protect or boost its status.
The more students they are able to reject, the better their reported rankings - so the colleges themselves put much money and resources into reaching out to cast a wider net to recruit more and more applicants each year, even when such prospective applicants are not necessarily great matches for their programs.
5.
With advancements in technology and shifts to Web 2.
0, gaining varied and detailed information about colleges, including opportunities to embark upon online tours, enables students from broader geographic ranges to really explore institutions that had previously been out of range and consideration due to being to far to visit and get up close and personal with their research.
This has led to expanded student interest in colleges they may not have even considered before, thus providing colleges slews of new prospects.
Source...
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