It's a common myth among parents and students that it's harder than ever for applicants to get accepted to selective colleges. Parents like to claim that schools are becoming increasingly harder to get into, by citing a drop in acceptance rates among top schools and an increase in the number of applications these schools receive year after year.
What many parents and students don't realize is that increasing numbers of applications isn't necessarily a sign that its harder to get into a selective school; rather, its a sign of changes in behavior among high school seniors. More and more people who aren't necessarily qualified are applying to top schools, inflating the application numbers while not seriously impacting admissions.
In fact, it has arguably become easier to get into a selective school, though it may be harder to get into a particular selective school.(Williams, Vassar, Princeton, Hamilton and Amherst all saw slight declines in the number of applications for fall 2013.)
Parents are misinterpreting this increase in the number of applications as a sign that it's harder to get accepted into a selective school; but in fact, this trend is actually more demonstrative of behavior changes among high schools seniors. With things like the common application streamlining the application process, more and more students are applying to top schools that they're not necessarily qualified for, which inflates the application numbers without really impacting admissions on the whole.
In fact, it has arguably become easier to get into a selective school, though it may be harder to get into a _particular _selective school.