This chart shows why it is so difficult to get into the “elite” schools. Harvard only accepted about 4.5% of students that applied – 1,950 of 43,330 candidates secured spots for the Class of 2023. But the story goes deeper.
Although the overall acceptance rate is extremely low, the acceptance numbers go way up for an applicant related to a graduate, on a Dean’s interest list, a child of faculty or staff, or a recruited athlete. That makes it nearly impossible for just about every other student to get in – even those with perfect GPAs and test scores.
So what to do? First, we need to change the conversation from “top rated” or “brand name” schools. The focus should instead be on colleges that fit a student’s academic, financial, community, and career requirements. A rating or name doesn’t do this. And we should embrace the fact that going to a specific college or taking a specific major doesn’t equate to career success. What is important is the attitude and effort that a student puts into the higher education journey.