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Greetings Students and Families,

College Admissions Planning: Myths About Acceptance Rates

Finding Your “Fit”!

The University of Colorado Boulder Campus College Advisor Bonnie Rabin, PhD

First and foremost- wishing all students success on recent and upcoming AP/AICE/IB and final exams. Many of these exams offer an opportunity to impact College Admissions and scores can potentially earn College Credit. In case you missed my detailed link to this topic-you can read my detailed AP newsletter at the link above.
Congratulations to all our Seniors! I’m so proud of everyone – college acceptances, lucrative scholarships and invitations to participate in research/honors programs. We also have had a great month negotiating financial aid award letters for families seeking to appeal aid packages. Everyone is eager to embark on the next step of their journey — some students already have found roomies. Bravo!
Our juniors — class of 2023 – you’re likely engaged in college research and we expect that campuses will begin to welcome visitors this fall for overnight visits– something that was the norm pre-pandemic. That said, between now and early summer we should be honing in on a short-list – the balance of reach, match and safety campuses. Don’t apply anywhere you wouldn’t be thrilled to attend. A “safety” isn’t a consolation prize– it’s a college that fits you academically, socially and financially.
With college applications ahead, do ensure you have the appropriate coursework related to the college major during your senior year. You simply cannot submit a college application to major in a STEM field without having ever taken an AP science class- you’ll be unprepared for the rigorous lab work ahead and you’ll be a less competitive applicant. Likewise- if you read my note on recommended AP courses- I highly recommend AP Macro or AP Micro and AP Statistics to prepare for a business degree. All of my AP course recommendations can be found in my AP Newsletter link above.
with College Consultant Bonnie Rabin, PhD
As our seniors ’22 are proudly wearing their college t-shirts and hoodies, our juniors ’23 know that college application season approaches. Our 8th to 10th grade students know that carefully selecting courses, including choices of AP vs AICE vs IB or which electives to consider, as well as selecting extracurricular and Collegiate Summer Program Experiences will greatly enhance discovery of academic and personal interests– ultimately bringing joy to learning and defining an educational and career path.

COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE RATES!!

Don’t Worry- Let’s Explore …

  

This note removes any confusion about COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE RATES and provides families with clear information about the data allowing you to ignore unnecessary and alarming “news” crossing your social media feeds about College Acceptance Rates.

College Acceptance Rates?

I often receive emails from potential families that begin with “can you tell me my student’s chances of acceptance to Harvard (or fill in the blank)” – !? Well you should run –not walk– from any college counselor that claims to have the answer to that question. Let’s take the mystery out of the data- and help you make an informed decision about where to submit your college application. Likewise, please don’t fuel the frenzy by paying an application fee and wasting your time thinking you may “get lucky” and somehow receive an acceptance letter – nope, college admissions isn’t a raffle ticket. College applications should be thoughtful and “Fit” you! Let’s explore…
You’ll find college acceptance rates 2022 to 2015 at the end of this newsletter- but suggest you read through to appreciate why you should ignore these data and instead learn about the data points that do matter in College Admissions.
With all the hype about ever-shrinking college acceptance rates and record number of applicants, you may not only be worried about where you’ll be accepted, but have been led to believe you too need to apply to several colleges in an attempt to increase your chances of acceptance to your “dream school”.  These concerns may have been jolted as extracurricular pursuits were paused the past few years during the pandemic. All of these activities that changed for our high school students were an important part of distinguishing yourself from other applicants and finding meaning and direction outside of the classroom. It’s my plan to make you more comfortable and to understand why you shouldn’t be as concerned about these “shrinking” acceptance rates and believe that you need to apply to dozens of universities.
Let’s debunk the first myth straight away.   Statistically, if you apply to ten schools each with a 10% chance of admissions, I know that you all understand that you do not have a 100% chance of earning a spot at one of the ten universities! That’s the principle of mutual exclusion taught in AP Statistics. About this time of year I speak with anxious parents and students who approach me with a list of 15 to 20 colleges. That’s simply far too many universities to apply to and there’s not enough time in the fall season to accomplish such a misguided plan.
How many colleges should I be applying to on my Common Application?
That’s the WRONG question!
WHICH COLLEGES should you apply to – that’s the question your college advisor should help you answer. I’m going to give you the short answer and most strategic stress-free response– : Every student should apply to two “safety” colleges that the student would be thrilled to attend- fitting the student academically, socially and financially. Once we identify those choices, we can turn attention to selecting “Match” and “reach” colleges. Every year students learn of acceptances to their match and reach colleges– please don’t apply to 20 colleges- that’s simply too many! I recommend 5 to 10 as the ideal number – this will vary based on unique circumstances which relate to the major area of study, student demographics and a host of issues that defined YOUR balanced list.
With a solid Strategic Educational and College Admissions plan, implemented as early as middle school, each student will have goals and take steps towards achieving those goals. The selection of colleges will become clear.
“FIT” — you’ve heard me discuss this before – but before I discuss why you should IGNORE data on Acceptance Rates– I’m discuss “FIT” one more time–!
The “fit” between a student and a university is based upon three pillars:
1. ACADEMICS
The university you attend should provide an outstanding academic experience in your intended major/minor fields of study, along with appropriate internship and career placement opportunities. This is paramount to selecting where to attend.
There’s a major field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult! With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.
Your evaluation of academics should move beyond published lists of college rankings. The most important steps include learning how to navigate through the “Academics” and the “Research” tabs to fully explore the curriculum maps, degree requirements and the research projects faculty are conducting. As a former university professor with 30+ years of experience on curriculum planning committees, I’m able to help your family assess “academic fit” and effectively explore your academic options to balance each student’s current and emerging interests and strengths.
Undecided? Consider that “flexible” and universities LOVE to hear about students with multi-disciplinary interests. All of your applications will in fact provide you with an opportunity to explain your choice of major(s) as being formed through classroom and other experiences. More about this below.
2. SOCIAL
The social fit is important as each student is looking to find a “home-away-from-home” for their next four years. Is the campus inviting, inclusive and are there opportunities for ongoing social and emotional growth?
This is exactly why students visit university campuses before enrolling. Your Educational and College Admissions Assessment will help you hone in on the criteria that are important to you. Let me help you understand how to have an informative and meaningful campus visit – and yes, that may even be a virtual visit which is bolstered by connecting with students and campus representatives in your major, your potential clubs and other ways to feel the “vibe” beyond a webcam. Nearly all colleges are welcoming visitors — some may eventually bring back the fall overnight campus visit for seniors.
3. FINANCIAL AFFORDABILITY
Every family faces unique financial circumstances and we factor those into the choices of where to apply and enroll. A. If you’re ineligible for financial aid, merit aid remains an important option to explore.
THERE ARE MANY CAMPUSES PROVIDING an EXCELLENT EDUCATION offering deep discounts on tuition given your “admissions profile”.
I truly want to reassure you that there are universities that don’t actually charge the “sticker price”. As you contemplate your balanced list, consider including some safety colleges– those include solid educational opportunities where your portfolio places you in the top 1% of the college’s typical student profile.
Help with College Applications- College Research- Quick Start Guide
SO Let’s Talk about College Acceptance Rates…
Parents and students should be unconcerned about the news on acceptance rates and instead keep perspective on how to prepare for and conduct research on universities.  Just because Cornell’s acceptance rate was 8.6% in 2021 doesn’t mean that’s YOUR odds of admittance. Your odds may be much higher. I can also tell you that your odds are 0% if your GPA is a 2.2 unless you won the Google Science fair or are a national debate champ. Aggregate published acceptance rates vary across majors, gender, location and student profile. Please read on…
All my juniors understand how to navigate the process to create a manageable list of match, reach and safety institutions. If you missed my earlier note:
If however, you’re truly curious about acceptance rates- you’ll find a sample of acceptance rates for the class of 2026 within all Ivy League campuses– and several colleges and universities. I also retained my earlier rates beneath that chart.
But let me try to convince you why college acceptance rates should be a very very very rough guide to your college planning and of little concern to your decision making.

College Acceptance Rates are Less Important than You Think!

Yes, these numbers are a representation of the degree of competitiveness. A college with a 25% acceptance rate compared to a 70% acceptance rate will be more challenging academically and have accepted students with a stronger academic profile. That is a useful fact.
Once you’ve approached the 25% or lower acceptance rate- think of this rate like a cold day- there’s no difference between a 20 degree and a 5 degree day- you need a hat, gloves and your warmest coat! Similarly, for college admissions success, you need to build your Strategic Educational and College Admissions Plan well before your senior year if you are to be a viable and potentially successful applicant in this cohort of selective universities. There aren’t enough spots for the numbers of students who want to attend and would be outstanding students if accepted.
Starting as early as Middle School, students need to focus on developing their academic and extracurricular interests which are further explored and enhanced throughout high school!
COLLEGE MAJORS –
A Different Question from COLLEGE CHOICE
College Admissions Planning: HOW TO SELECT A COLLEGE and A MAJOR That "FITs" YOU!
Financial Aid, FAFSA & Scholarships-- College Application Help- What to Know!
What about those single-digit and less-than-50% college acceptance rates?
YOUR SPECIFIC CHANCE OF ADMISSION IS NOT THE SAME NUMBER AS THE PUBLISHED AGGREGATE
ACCEPTANCE RATES!
College acceptance rates are aggregate numbers representing the population as a whole. If we could more realistically focus on your profile: your GPA, your intended major, your extracurricular experiences, your competition and leadership roles, your gender, your location, your legacy status and a number of other relevant factors, you will appreciate that YOUR chances of admission at any given university are unique and can greatly exceed the published acceptance rates.  RELAX!
Where can I review results or profiles of accepted students?
A virtual tunnel to the center of the earth for anxious parents and student awaits you at Talk.collegeconfidential.com
There are literally tens of thousands of discussion threads on this webpage – some threads are exceptionally informative, but like Wikipedia- lots of speculation from well-meaning people with too much time on their hands!
Nonetheless, you can see
“Official Results Threads” .
Google: Talk College Confidential Official Results Thread Class of 2026 INSERT: MY DREAM UNIVERSITY
In a given thread, you can see the profiles of students accepted, rejected and waitlisted. It is quite anecdotal but also informative.
MEANINGFUL STATISTICS:
The only statistics to focus upon are those that provide indications of the quality of education you’ll receive at a given university. Here are a few that can help you decide whether the investment is a good one.
Do graduates still find a connection to their chosen field and institution at age 30, 40, 50? Check out statistics on the percentage of alumni giving (also see my earlier newsletter on why this percentage is an indicator of financial aid success).
What’s the percentage of graduates who have a job offer/graduate school acceptance in their field upon graduation? What percentage of students have an offer of employment 6 months post-graduation?
What percentage of classes are taught by professors with a terminal degree vs. graduate students?
What percentage of students are guaranteed freshman dorm housing?
What’s the average class size for freshman introductory classes and upper level electives in my intended major?
What are the campus crime statistics?
What percentage of students are on financial aid?
As students continue to apply to more colleges and in record numbers, more applicants means lower acceptance rates. Unlike other organizations and businesses, colleges cannot continue to increase in size as they are limited by classroom and dorm space and the number of faculty members. Colleges are cautious not to overbuild as demographic trends don’t always sustain.
Universities aren’t competing to increase their market share of the available 18 to 24 year old students.
Universities are competing to attract the brightest and most interesting students.
Are you one of them?
Finding Your Niche?
For those of you who are regular readers of my newsletters and blogs, you understand that College Admissions is holistic.  Recently I wrote about the relevance of demonstrating “character” and your “uniqueness” in the admissions process. What really matters for all of us, students and parents alike, is knowing that we lead lives filled with joy and purpose. Admissions reps are also moved by the topic of “kindness” – this has been trending in college admissions for a few years – and in response, the Common App 2021-22 had a new essay about “kindness” and “gratitude” – the first new prompt in a decade. The prompts for the Common App 2022-23 are unchanged –(stay tuned – my June 1 newsletter will discuss college essays).
The core essay prompts for the Common Application — especially numbers 1, 4 and 6 address this very point!
My goal in the partnership I share with each family is to guide each young adult to becoming self-directed, inspired and ultimately to recognize their strengths and passions in ways that will enable each young adult to contribute to their communities.
A student’s GPA and transcript are a significant determinant of admissions and academic success. Yet with five to seven qualified applicants for every available space in the freshman class, admission committees seek to create a freshman class that is diverse in intended majors, geographic origin and personal interests.
s.
Students who are successful not only in admissions but as actual undergraduate students, are those who have well defined interests, nurtured as early as middle school and further developed throughout high school.
Having an academic niche or a personal passion outside the classroom builds motivation, focus and academic success.
Parents, guidance counselors and your college advisor can help your student identify or deepen an academic and /or personal interest.
What sparks your student?
The most selective universities again realized phenonenal increases in application numbers.
See charts at end of note with 2025 and 2024 acceptance rates
I’m so proud of all students – our recent acceptances include:
Princeton, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, USC, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Bowdoin, Wellesley, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, Brown, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, UF, and many more!
Whether you’re a senior planning to make a choice, or a 10th-11th grade student starting your college research- or just starting high school, please review my online reviews and reach out to Schedule an Educational and College Admissions Planning Assessment
It is never too early to begin taking steps to ensure your student has a long-term strategic educational plan fostering a love of learning, building solid time management skills and establishing a directed path towards the undergraduate experience. I personally guide students to discover their individual academic strengths and develop an intrinsically motivated passion for learning, ensuring a seamless transition to the undergraduate experience.😊

 

2026 vs 2025 Admission Rate
Barnard College 8% 10.4%
Boston College 16.4% 18.9%
Boston University 14% 8.3%
Bowdoin College 8.92% 8.8%
Brown University 5% 5.5%
Colby College 7.45% 8%
Colgate TBA 17.2%
Columbia University 3.73%  3.9%
Cornell University Withheld 8.7%
Dartmouth College 6.2% 6.17%
Duke University 6.2% 5.7%
Emory University 15.8% 20.4%
Georgetown TBA 12%
Harvard University 3.19% 3.43%
Johns Hopkins 6.48% 7.4%
Middlebury 11.5% 15.7%
MIT 3.96% 4%
NYU 12.2% 12.8%
Northwestern 7% 6.8%
Pomona College TBA 6.6%
Princeton withheld 3.98%
Rice University 8.56% 9.3%
Stanford withheld 3.95%
Swarthmore College 6.95% 8%
Tufts University 9% 11%
University of Chicago TBA 6.2%
Notre Dame 12.87% 14.6%
UPenn withheld 5.68%
USC TBA 12%
University of Virginia 18.68% 20.6%
Vanderbilt 6.1% 6.7%
Washington U St. Louis 10% 13%
Wellesley College 13% 16
Yale 4.4% 4.62%
EARLIER NEWSLETTER RESULTS Below
Class of 2025 vs 2024 Admission Rates
Barnard College 10.40%  13%
Boston College 18.90% 24%
Boston University 18.30% 18.50%
Bowdoin College  8.8% 8.30%
Brown University  5.4% 6.90%
Colby College 8% 9.40%
Colgate University 17.20% ###
Columbia University  3.7% 6.10%
Cornell University  ~8.7% 10.70%
Dartmouth College  6.2% 8.80%
Duke University 5.70% 7.70%
Emory University 20.40% 20.70%
Georgetown University TBA 15%
Harvard University  3.4% 4.92%
Johns Hopkins University 7.40% 8.80%
Middlebury College  15.7% 24%
MIT 4% 7.20%
New York University 12.80% 15%
Northwestern University  6.8% 9%
Pomona College TBA ###
Princeton University  3.9% 5.55%
Rice University 9.30% 10%
Stanford University TBA 5.19%
Swarthmore College 8% 8.80%
Tufts University 11% 15%
University of Chicago TBA 6.20%
University of Notre Dame 14.60% 16.50%
University of Pennsylvania  5.7% 8%
University of Southern California 12% 16%
University of Virginia 20.60% 20.50% Vanderbilt University  6.7% 10.40%
Washington University in St. Louis 13% ###
Wellesley College 16% ###
Williams College 8% ###
Yale University  4.6% 6
Class of 2024 vs 2023 Admission Rates
Boston College24%27.1%
Boston University18.5%18%
Bowdoin College8.3%8.9%
Brown University6.9%6.6%
Colby College 9.4%9.6%
Columbia University6.1%5.3%
Cornell University8.3 %10.5%
Dartmouth College8.8%7.9%
Duke University7.7%7.4%
Emory University20.7%26.5%
Georgetown University15%14%
Harvard University4.92%4.5%
Johns Hopkins University8.8%9.2%
Middlebury College24%15.9%
MIT 7.2%6.6%
New York University15%16%
Northwestern UniversityTBA8.9%
Pomona CollegeTBA7%
Princeton University5.55%5.8%
Rice University10%8.7%
Stanford UniversityTBA4.3%
Swarthmore College8.8%8.7%
Tufts University15%14.6%
University of Chicago6.2%5.9%
University of Notre Dame16.5%15.8%
University of Pennsylvania8%7.4%
University of Southern California16%11%
University of Virginia20.5%24.3%
Vanderbilt University9% 7.8%
Williams CollegeTBA10.7%
Yale University6.54%4.5%
College Name  Acceptance Rate 2023  2022
Amherst College10.80%12.80%
Boston College27%27%
Brown University6.60%7.20%
Colby College9.50%13%
Columbia University5.10%5.50%
Cornell University10.60%10.30%
Dartmouth College7.90%8.70%
Duke University7.40%8.30%
Emory University15% 18.5%
Georgetown University10.96%14.50%
Harvard University4.50%4.59%
Harvey Mudd13.40%14.50%
Johns Hopkins University9.10%9.90%
MiddleburyCollege15.90%18.30%MIT6.60%6.70%
New York University16%20.90%
Northwestern University8.9%8.40%
Pomona CollegeTBA6.90%
Princeton University5.80%5.40%
Stanford University4.18%4.20%
Swarthmore College8.70%9.10%
Tufts University16.1 %14.60%
University of Chicago5.90%7.20%
University of Pennsylvania7.40%8.40%
University of Southern California11%12.80%
University of Virginia24%26.40%
Vanderbilt University11.7%10.90%
Washington and Lee University18%21%
Washington University in St. Louis14%15%
Wellesley College20%19%
Williams College12.40%12.10%
Yale University5.90%6.30%
Class of 2021 vs 2020 Admission Rate
Barnard College14.8%16.7%
Boston College32%32%
Boston University25%29%
Brown University8.3%9%
Columbia University5.8%6.04%
Cornell University12.5%13.9%
Dartmouth College10.4%10.6%
Duke University9%10.4%
Emory University21.8%25.2%
Georgetown University15%16.4%
Harvard University5.2%5.2%
Johns Hopkins University11.8%11.5%
Middlebury College19.7%16%
MIT7.1%7.8%New York University27%32%
Northwestern University9%10.7%
Pomona College8.2%9.1%
Princeton University6.1%6.46%
Stanford University4.65%4.69%
Swarthmore College10.2%12.5%
Tufts University14.8%14%
University of Chicago7.6%7.9%
University of Pennsylvania9.15%9.4%
University of Southern California16%16.5%
University of Virginia27%28.8%
Vanderbilt University10.3%10.4%
Wake Forest University27%29%
Washington University in St. Louis16%17%
Williams College14.6%17.3%
Yale University6.9%6.3%

 

Have an awesome day!
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Educational and College Admissions Consultant
South Florida 561.509.0021    Click to View our Boca Raton Location
Boulder and Metro Denver Colorado 720.737.9944    Click to view Our Boulderand Metro Denver Locations
Nationwide  833.MY.ESSAY
Is Your High School Student on Target- Curious, Independent?

 

Discover and Explore College Advisor

Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.

Guiding her clients to define and realize educational and career goals.
With over thirty years experience as a university professor and admissions committee member, you’re invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities.
Be inspired!
Pre-College Academic Advising!
Congrats!!!  A SAMPLE of our Recent College Acceptances Include:
Congrats!!! A SAMPLE of our recent College Acceptances Include:
UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, Princeton, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Barnard, Columbia, Smith, Stanford, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Brown, Bowdoin, Wellesley, USC, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, London School of Economics, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, and many more!…
WRITE YOUR STORY!