First, the bad news: college admissions rates are lower than ever. Thanks to the growing population of American 18- to 24-year-olds, better financial aid packages, and the recession-fueled surge in college value, more people are applying to college than ever before. But before you panic, check out these reassuring trends.
1) Application Numbers Are Inflated
Thanks to the growing popularity of the Common App, applying to college is easier than ever before. And in an effort to play the odds, it means more students are applying to more colleges, which naturally decreases the admissions rate. What this means for you: you're not necessarily competing with more qualified students, you're just competing with more students.
2) More than 50% Are Accepted
U.S. News data show that almost 80% of ranked schools accept more than half of students who apply among the 1,254 schools that submitted these data in the 2016 survey. In this case, the odds are in your favor.
3) SATs Are Not as Important Anymore
This one standardized test continues to lose its credibility among admissions reps because experts say that it unfairly disadvantages underprivileged students. According to the Washington Post, half of the top 100 national liberal arts colleges on the U.S. News & World Report rankings now have test-optional or test-flexible* policies. The list of 870+ schools—including 240+ highly ranked schools—with test-optional/flexible policies can be found here.
And admissions officers agree that grades are way more important than one test: the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that grades in college-preparatory courses were rated as “considerably important” by about 80 percent of institutions the National Association for College Admission Counseling surveyed.
*This means you choose which scores to submit