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Acceptance rates at top universities have dropped, but that doesn’t mean it’s harder to get in

Is it getting tougher for students to enrol in prestigious US universities? Source: Shutterstock

Do you have your eyes set on attending an Ivy League in the US? No surprises there.

There are many appeals to attending such universities, including a higher earning potential upon graduation. For example, the typical Ivy League grad earns more than twice as much than graduates of other colleges, notes The Washington Post.

According to reports, the applications for prestigious institutions are increasing. For example, Harvard College saw a 1.4 percent increase in its application pool, with 43,330 students applying to the Class of 2023, while the number was 36,843 for Yale; their Class of 2023 will be approximately 15 percent larger than previous recent classes.

However, despite the high demand, acceptance rates are dropping.

But before you feel down in the dumps, note that a larger pool of candidates doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harder to get in.

A CNN report notes: “Over the past five years, all the Ivies have been accepting smaller and smaller slivers of their total applicant pools. At the same time, more and more students are submitting applications, which is driving down acceptance rates. It’s sort of a vicious circle.”

Brian Taylor, Managing Director of College Consulting Company, Ivy Coach, told CNN that “Ivy League schools often target students who have no chance at getting in, which leads to more applicants and a lower admission rate.

“’(The schools) are competing against their peers for the lowest admission rate, and it indirectly impacts the US News ranking,’ Taylor added, referring to the influential lists of top schools published annually by US News and World Report.”

But here’s some welcome news: the US News and World Report announced last year it would remove acceptance rate from ranking calculations “to make room for the new social mobility indicators”.

Meanwhile, more universities in the US are making it easier for both local and international students to enrol thanks to Common Application, more commonly known as Common App. This platform enables students to submit applications to multiple institutions by completing one online form, eliminating the need to repeat your applicant details for every college on your list.  

They’ve also recently launched the Transfer Requirements Grid, enabling applicants interested in transferring institutions to understand the requirements, deadlines, fees and specific application requirements for over 600 colleges and universities accepting the Common App for transfer application.

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