Be prepared with the truth

The truth:

  • Princeton and Stanford, among others, are not disclosing their admit rates. Harvard, Columbia, and MIT had admit rates under 4%.

  • Sixteen colleges and universities now have admit rates under 10%.

  • Some admit rates dropped precipitously in one year: New York University from 21% in 2021 to a 12.2% admit rate in 2022.

  • Northeastern University is now an “unlikley” for all applicants.

Test-optional policies and grade inflation caused by the pandemic drove this huge increase in applications. The above focuses on a small sample of highly-selective colleges because the result trickles down to affect all colleges. See 2019 (pre-COVID-19) numbers because the pandemic already caused a skew in the numbers for 2020.


Many parents went to highly selective colleges. They assume that their kids have high rigor and straight As and assume they can also attend highly selective colleges. But the landscape is nothing like what it was back then, or even two years ago. My colleague Bari Norman held a virtual presentation in which she brilliantly compared admissions rates at all 8 of the Ivy Leagues in 1992 to today’s admissions rates and the equivalent colleges.

It’s a fact that many kids have worked very hard. When they hear how difficult it is to get into many highly selective colleges, they often wonder, what was it all for? The truth is that every one of these students will go to a GREAT college even if does not have the name they thought it would have.


Being prepared with the truth means knowing and understanding why you will likely not be admitted to the most selective schools–those I call unlikelies. The right college is one that gives you the resources, space, and support to go out and create your success–that’s what we mean by fit. Research, visit, and learn about colleges to discover the truth about them–then go out there and make real changes in the world.






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