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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Too Many College Applications Diluting the Pool?
It's hard to tell whether or not it is becoming harder to get into college these days. Each year the top schools seem to post lower admission rates, but there is more to the story.

There are more students applying to college, and there are numerous reasons for that. There is a large increase in foreign student applications to American schools. Tools such as the Common Application make applying easier. As the competition increases, so does rejection. Students, in turn, send out more applications, hoping to increase their chances of being accepted somewhere.

Back in the days of paper applications with a per-application fee, the sheer logistics of applying to multiple schools was enough to deter all but the most zealous students from sending out high volumes of applications. These days, students can apply to all ten University of California campuses with the check of a box. The Common Application, with its access to over 450 universities across the country, provides the same function.

The problem is that admissions committees aren't equipped to deal with the increase in number of applications. If a hundred applicants have essentially the same SAT score, the admission committee can focus its time on really assessing the other qualities each of those 100 students offers. If that 100 is now 1000, the review process becomes unmanageable.

Ironically, students themselves are fueling the problem by applying to so many different schools. By increasing the applicant pool, they are forcing admissions committees to spend less time assessing each applicant.

A recent NY Times blog suggests a simple solution. Know what you really want from a college. That way you can avoid sending out applications to universities that really won't suit you (or accept you). This streamlines the process for the individual student and in turn, for the admissions offices.

For students, putting a little more research in at the front end of the application process may make all the difference in the world. And with the odds getting slimmer each year, it is time for a change.


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