Is it hard to get that thick envelope?

It’s that time of year. High school seniors around the country anxiously head to their mailboxes after school in hopes of seeing a thick envelope from their dream college. For the thousands of seniors who applied to colleges like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, the odds are low.

Over at the Washington Post’s Campus Overload blog, Jenna Johnson reports the acceptance rates for some of our country’s most selective colleges. Of the 30,000 applicants to apply, Harvard accepted just 6.9% of applicants, slightly lower than the 7% they reported last year. Stanford University wasn’t much easier to get into either, with its 7.2% acceptance rate. With rates like these, seniors around the country have to be wondering if they’ll ever get into college.

Jenna’s colleague Valerie Strauss takes issue with the implication that the lower acceptance rates shows it is getting more difficult to get into college. Valerie cites a ground breaking studyours of course— that shows it is no more difficult to get into college now than a decade ago, even for the the best students trying to get into the most selective colleges, like those cited by Jenna and the New York Times, which is keeping an admissions tally.

The fact is, seniors shouldn’t be scared off by these miniscule acceptance rates. Harvard and Stanford are two of the most prestigious colleges in world, so of course they are going to be extremely difficult to get into. But there are a lot of other great colleges out there good students can get into and prepare them well for life in the real world. As the Center’s Chasing the College Acceptance Letter found, there is a good school out there for students who took rigorous courses in high school and earned decent grade.  Furthermore, despite the falling acceptance rates of our top colleges, it is no more difficult for a good student to get into a good college now than it was a decade ago. Don’t believe me? Then check out the report for yourself –Jim Hull

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