Cherry-Picked or Not

One year later, most applicants are happy.

May/June 2011

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Cherry-Picked or Not


Admissions rates at top universities across the country fell to new lows this year—6.2 percent at Harvard, 6.9 at Columbia, 7.1 at Stanford, 7.4 at Yale—reinforcing the perception that it's harder than ever to get into college. But it's not so much that the cherry is getting smaller as it is that the sundae is getting larger. Applications to Stanford, recently ranked the No. 1 "dream school" among college applicants surveyed by the Princeton Review, have nearly doubled since 2000. It's not just at Stanford: The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA has found that 35 percent of college hopefuls now apply to six or more schools. (One factor may be the relative ease of applying online via the Common Application.) And while some 40 percent of students don't ultimately attend their first-choice college, by the end of freshman year they report being just as satisfied as those who do. So congratulations to the class of 2015, wherever you matriculate.

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