As the spring months roll by, millions of high school seniors anxiously wait for a notification from their dream college or university. They brace themselves as they open the portal, hesitating to click the button that will lead to either their acceptance or rejection. All the hard work that they have put in all boils down to this very moment. Finally bringing themselves to open their letter, some rejoice in an acceptance, while most are rejected. No matter the result, the truth is simply that the system is unfair and not worth the stress it puts on students across the country. Each year, colleges report their updated acceptance rates, and they nearly never fail to be lower than the previous year. Colleges are, quite literally, just getting harder and harder to get into.
The college admissions system is a complete disaster. As every college reports that they have become more selective and harder to get into, more students apply to more colleges in an effort to guarantee that they will be able to go to college anywhere. This, of course, only lowers the acceptance rates of these colleges even more because they are only able to accept a certain number of students despite the increasing number of students applying. Some schools are receiving so many applicants that their acceptance rates are lowering, so much so that they are becoming almost as selective Ivy Leagues despite their prestigious ranking being lower. The catastrophe is affecting almost everyone.
For those in the middle to upper-middle class, getting into colleges is only one of the problems. Even after the problem of getting accepted, college remains a financial burden. For many schools, the cost of tuition can be over $40000 a year (and that’s not even including room & board, textbooks, and other expenses of living!). For middle and upper-middle class students, these fees are far too expensive to pay and yet many financial institutions claim that these students do not qualify for financial aid. The unreasonable acceptance rates are leaving students with less choices to choose colleges that provide a more realistic cost.
The situation doesn’t end here. For lower class students, the necessity to apply to more colleges still applies. With the money seeking college admission system, application fees carry yet another financial burden. Students are unable to pay for these admission fees and, nonetheless, the sheer cost of college itself.
The increasing pool of applicants for colleges themselves also proves to be a major complication. Colleges still are only able to accept a certain number of applicants because they can only house so many students and do not have the resources to accept more. Colleges need to figure out which students are applying because they truly want to attend, and which students to reject for only applying as a backup. However, this is a clear problem. Colleges have no way of actually figuring this out and are going to wrongly admit or reject applicants. Many high-achieving students have found themselves in a situation where they are rejected from their top colleges, but also rejected from their safety schools because these schools believe they are “over-qualified” and will not attend even if accepted.
To the senior class this year, even if you are rejected from the schools you have applied to, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are under-qualified or unworthy of an acceptance, you are simply a victim of the monstrosity of what college admissions has become.