A flurry of articles have appeared on the dramatic increase in application volume at top programs at top programs this year. Here are a couple:
- The Washington Post’s "Colleges Awash in Applications" lists additional programs that have record low acceptance rates and high application volume.
- "Volunteering Because You Must" in The Wall St. Journal discusses a growing trend at private schools and even some public schools to require community service, essentially making volunteering a requirement. (Yes, that’s a contradiction.) I am not sure how widespread this trend is. It will make volunteering less of a distinctive element in admissions, but in reality some form of community service was virtually a requirement of applicants to top programs already.
The most interesting part of these articles was the element of sanity the end of the Washington Post piece:
"College admissions experts warned, however, against making too much of the space crunch in the best-known schools. Only about 10 percent of U.S. colleges are highly selective, and most schools accept most of the students who apply. Even at high schools that felt the pinch of what looks like the hardest admissions year yet, students were admitted to colleges that appeared to have what they needed.
"David Hawkins, director of public policy for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said, "There are more prospective applicants in 2006 than there have [been] in any previous year." But, he said, the acceptance rates at famous colleges are well below the 70 percent average rate for all four-year institutions.
"Research indicates that attendance at a well-known school does not appear to give any long-term advantage to students, at least as measured by incomes 20 years after they graduate. College counselors advise students to look for a school that offers the size and range of courses and activities they are looking for and not worry so much about where it ranks on the U.S. News & World Report list."
If you don’t qualify for the elite programs or if you were accepted at great but not elite schools, keep the above in mind.