The CollegeVine Blog

Tag: Acceptance Rates

  • How Much Do Extracurricular Activities Matter in College Admissions?

    Along with high grades and SAT scores, a resume full of strong extracurricular activities is considered a necessity for any student applying to top colleges. Students are pressured to volunteer at their local animal shelter, try out for a sports team, serve as secretary of a club, and more in hopes of demonstrating those elusive “leadership qualities” that colleges claim to seek in applicants.

    But exactly how much do extracurriculars matter? And do they play the same role in each student’s application? In this blog post, we’ll reveal how much extracurricular activities actually matter in your college application.

  • Why are Students Getting Rejected From Every College?

    A student a class or two above you had a 4.0 average, great SAT scores, and a wealth of impressive extracurriculars. By all accounts, they were poised to be accepted into a top-tier university; conventional wisdom tells us that being in the top percentiles for GPA, SAT or ACT scores, and extracurricular involvement is a ticket to an Ivy League or other prestigious school. Yet when admissions decisions were mailed out, they received surprising rejections from nearly all their target and reach schools.

    Have you ever heard a story like this?

    It’s not uncommon for students who supposedly have done everything right to be passed over for admission by the nation’s top universities. Increasingly, situations like this feed into the idea that admissions at top colleges are becoming impossibly competitive. If even the highest scoring students with the best grade averages are being turned away, how is anyone meant to get accepted?

  • Why are Acceptance Rates so Low?

    This year Stanford University, the most selective college in the nation, made history by having its lowest acceptance rate in its 125 years of existence: 4.7%. Following closely behind were Harvard University and Columbia University, with acceptance rates of 5.2% and 6%, respectively.

    These numbers don’t seem terribly out of place in an era where top colleges are known for and even pride themselves on acceptance rates in the single digits. However, when compared with admissions rates from 20, 15, or even 10 years ago, a shocking pattern emerges. In 1998, Stanford had an acceptance rate of 13%, almost 3 times the current figure. In 1988, Columbia accepted a whopping 65% of students that applied we admitted. What changed?

  • Can Applying Under a Certain Major Affect Your Chances of Admission?

    With admissions rates dropping each year, many students are eagerly searching for any way to boost their chances at admission. One way in which applicants to selective universities hope to give themselves an edge is by applying under supposedly less popular majors. The argument is that with less competition in the field, an applicant’s chances at acceptance increase. But does this common belief actually hold water? Read on to find out!

  • Should You Retake Your Standardized Tests?

    Standardized testing can be among the most stressful parts of the college admissions process. Not only do the results from just a few tests have an outsized impact on your application, but also the test-taking experience itself is grueling. No one – and we really do mean no one – enjoys waking up at 6:30 AM to take a test for 4 hours. Despite this, many students take their tests multiple times, for some 3 or 4 sittings. The logic behind putting oneself through the excruciating test-taking process so many times is that with repeated sittings, test scores will, supposedly, steadily improve. But to what degree is this actually true? Is it worth it to take your standardized tests more than once? Read on for our advice on retaking standardized tests.

  • College Rankings, Debunked: How Ranking Works, and What it Means for Your College Decision

    It’s common to hear colleges referred to in terms of their rankings: references to “Top 10” colleges, or proud statements of “#6 college in the country” abound, but who exactly makes these determinations? And what factors into their decisions?

    The rankings released by the best known sites like US News and World Report, Forbes, or the Princeton Review are held as gospel by all players in the college admissions game, most of all some students and parents. It’s not uncommon for a student to make their college decision based purely off which school has the highest rank. Ostensibly, this makes sense: higher rank means better school, and who wouldn’t want to go to the best school?

    But for all the stock that students, parents, and educators alike put into college rankings, relatively few people ever stop to question the methodology behind the all-important numbers. What does being the #1 school actually mean, and how does a school gain that distinction? In this blog post, we at Admissions Hero will clear the fog surrounding college rankings.

  • How to Get Into a Competitive School if You Struggled in High School

    If you’re a student who has dreams of attending a competitive university but have a shaky academic record, hearing tales of classmates’ perfect grades or countless leadership positions can be frustrating. It’s easy to feel like without that stellar GPA or resume, it’s impossible to gain acceptance to the school of your dreams. But are your chances shot if you didn’t make straight A’s throughout high school? Not necessarily. Read on to find how you can maximize your chances for admission at competitive schools, even if you don’t have the strongest academic record.

  • How to Make the Most of a Campus Visit

    Chances are when filling out your college applications, you noticed a strange question: “have you ever visited campus?” A visit to campus might seem tantamount to tourism, but campus visits actually mean more to admissions officers than you might think. Chances are, you wouldn’t take the time or make the trip to visit a school if you didn’t have some degree of interest in attending. A campus visit thus demonstrates interest, and demonstrated interest is actually a significant factor on your applications. However, not all campus visits are created equal. Here are some ways to make the most of your visit to campus.

  • A Guide to Transferring: What You Need to Know About the Transfer Admissions Process

    Transferring schools is a process that students undertake for a number of reasons; students whose majors are discontinued, whose financial aid falls short, who are making the transition from a 2-year or community college to a 4-year, or who are otherwise dissatisfied with the academic or social environment of their current school all may choose to transfer. In fact, more than a third of all students transfer at some point in 6 years. Yet for how common transferring is, there is relatively little literature available on the process compared to applying for admission as a first-year student. We at Admissions Hero have decided to break down some of the most important aspects of transferring process, as well as the ways in which this process is distinct from applying for first-year admission.

  • Are Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Programs Right for You?

    If you’ve seriously considered attending law school, med school, or any other graduate school after getting your Bachelor’s degree, you may have put some thought into applying to a combined undergraduate/graduate program. These programs allow students, once admitted during their senior year of HS, to matriculate into graduate school at the same institution immediately following the completion of their undergraduate education. But for all their advantages, these programs are not for everyone. We’ve broken down some of the advantages and disadvantages of combined graduate and undergraduate programs to help you decide if it’s right for you.