A College Admission Hoax Uncovered

Whenever I’ve been in the vicinity of a bookstore lately, I’ve felt compelled to walk in. I wander over to the section with the college guides and the ponderous SAT prep titles and I look to see if my book, The College Solution, is on the shelf.

If I can’t find a copy of my book I wonder if that’s because parents have already snatched up the store’s copies (wishful thinking??). Or I wonder if the store’s book buyer couldn’t be less interested in what I’ve written.

When I popped into a Borders bookstore over the weekend, I didn’t locate my book, but I found lots of college titles designed to make any parent or teenager terrified of their college admission prospects. All these spooky titles were apparently written to help students appeal to the humorless admission gods, who reign at schools with 300-year-old traditions.

If you spend much time flipping through college admission books, it’s easy to assume that your kid is going to have a hellacious time getting into any college.

But that’s total nonsense. And I’ve got the figures to prove it. The Chronicle of Higher Education released its annual almanac today and one of the charts that intrigued me the most measured the selectivity of the nation’s colleges and universities.

The nation’s four-year institutions aren’t nearly as picky as the media likes to pretend.

Here’s what I mean: Only .4% of institutions reject more than 90% their applicants. Only 1.7% of colleges and universities reject up to 75% of applicants.

In contrast, at more than 41% of four-year institutions, the rejection rate ranges from 0% to 25%.

Keep those figures in mind the next time you feel like stressing out about college.

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