The New York Times reports that schools previously considering "second tier" are gaining a new prestige as intensifying competition puts the Ivies and their cousins out of reach for an increasingly large percentage of the college applicant pool. Of course, as result these schools are now also seeing soaring application numbers and plunging acceptance rates. A few excerpts from "Ivy League Crunch Brings New Cachet to Next Tier":
- Leheigh University this year received 12,000 applications for its 1,150 freshman spots, a 50% increase over seven years ago. Its average SAT score has climbed ten points per year in recent years.
- At Middlebury, applications have increased by 1,000 in each of the last two years. It received nearly 7,200 applications this year, compared with 5,200 in 2005.
- Bowdoin’s acceptance rate was 18.5 percent this year and 32 percent eight years ago.
According to the Times, the increased competition stems from a combination of factors, but it boils down to supply and demand.
"The number of students graduating from high school has been increasing, and the preoccupation with the top universities, once primarily a Northeastern phenomenon, has become a more national obsession. High-achieving students are also applying to more colleges than they used to, primarily because of uncertainty over where they will be admitted."