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Twenty applications, several with multiple essays, and, ultimately, only one college. The excessive number of applications that seniors send out to schools across the nation has flooded admissions offices with many more qualified applicants than they can possibly accept. Acceptance rates go down, and students receive more rejection letters than letters of admissions. Next year’s seniors, remembering the rejections that their straight-A friends received in the past, send out even more applications.
The cycle continues.
The ease of Internet applications and an increase in the number of colleges switching to the Common Application, has made the process of applying to a single school much simpler, but has increased the stress of the college application process: students can no longer be certain of which colleges they reasonably have a chance of getting into.
UCLA, which is the campus that received the most applications in the nation, had 61,516 students apply this year. According to The Washington Post, the excessive numbers are not due solely to more applications: the U.S. population has grown and a larger percentage of minority students are choosing to attend college. The impact of each student sending massive numbers of applications is, however, undeniable.
Many colleges’ undue level of advertisement, where they send out numerous brochures and pamphlets to prospective students who have minimal chance of acceptance, needs to stop. For many of these colleges, the growing number of applicants shows that this advertisement is largely unnecessary.
To help fix the problem, students must be aware of how difficult the admissions process for each school is and not apply to too many colleges that are not reasonably within their range. Seniors can research the selectivity of colleges and the average scores and grades of admitted students before deciding where to apply. Ultimately, students must find a balance between challenging themselves in the application process and sending out excessive numbers of applications that will only result in a stress-filled year and a pile of rejection letters.