Competition at State Universities

Admissions results are scheduled to be released tomorrow at FSU, which means that households across the state will be holding their collective breaths for a decision to admit their high school senior. If your student applied to FSU, we wish you and them the best of success and we hope that you receive good news in the next 24 hours.

It is well-documented that admissions at colleges across the country have become increasingly competitive. A big reason for this is something we call Application Inflation, or the increase in the number of applications that each student sends. Back in the day when Marty McFly was driving a time machine made out of a DeLorean (1985), admit rates at the most competitive schools were in the mid-teens (Harvard at 17%, for example), and students applied to about 5-8 schools. Today, students are applying to 12-15 colleges, some well in excess of that number, and as a result several schools have admit rates in the teens, with top schools like Harvard and Stanford boasting admit rates as low as 5%. And believe me, they’re boasting. Colleges LOVE to tout their record number of applicants for a small pool of spots in the incoming freshman class. Even state universities are seeing admission rates drop to record lows. Last year UF saw it’s lowest admit rate ever at 38%. UNC-Chapel Hill admits only 27%, and 82% must come from the Tar Heel state. UC-Berkeley has the lowest rate of admission among the state flagships, at only 17%. This is largely the result of a larger applicant pool competing for a limited (but fairly constant) number of available spots.

Competition at State Universities 2

This article from the Washington Post profiles an inside look at University of Maryland. Some state schools still work strictly by the numbers (GPA and test scores), but the good news is that many state universities like UMD, UF and others, are increasingly taking a more holistic look at admissions, which means they look at the entire candidacy rather than simply grades and test scores.

Despite the heavy competition to get into top schools, 80% of colleges admit more than 50% of its applicants. Last year FSU admitted 58%, according to the College Board. So my wish for you is to sleep easy this evening, and hopefully your answer from FSU is ADMIT.

If you’re interested in learning how to take the complexity out of the college admissions process, check out our virtual guidance program. We tell you what to do and when, so you don’t miss a deadline and you stay in track. Or, you can learn about our custom guidance programs offering more direct support.

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