College Admissions Applicants

Applicants to College, University Applicants, College Apps

Don’t get frustrated by listening to the “most competitive class ever” hype in college admissions. It’s all spin (photo credit: Bryan Y.W. Shin).

Each year, we read about how this year is the most competitive cycle ever for college admissions applicants. We find it rather irritating. From a statistical standpoint, other than the national debt, it’s rather rare when something only goes up and up and up. There’s typically more fluctuation. Check out a website’s traffic as an example. A movie theatre’s website will have higher traffic on most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays as compared to Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. So, no, this year is not the most competitive admissions class ever. Wondering why not? Let us explain.

Each year, college admissions officers seek to get more high school seniors to apply to their school. They’ll send you brochures. They’ll clog your email inbox. They’ll call you and visit your high school. Does that mean they think you’re qualified to gain admission to their school? Absolutely not. They want as many people as possible to apply so their admission rate gets tougher and tougher…so their “US News & World Report” ranking improves year after year. They may admit more or less the same number of students each year but if you get more to apply, you’re suddenly a more selective university. It’s a quick fix…one that doesn’t mean this year’s admissions class is academically more competitive. And it doesn’t mean that there are fewer slots.

And that’s just the beginning of it. But we hope you get the point. If you need further convincing, check out this post on how “the most competitive class ever” is 100% spin. Colleges love to put spin on their admissions data and you should be aware of it if you’re not already! Let us know your thoughts on this spin by posting below!


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