Shell Game: Colleges “artificially depress their acceptance rates” to get higher ratings

Colleges aren’t actually becoming more selective. They’re just finding ways of getting more people to apply.

College Still Easy To Get Into For Qualified Candidates, Despite Low Acceptance Rates.

The Washington Post (12/1, Ehrenfreund) “Wonkblog” reports universities “waste everyone’s time and money in the process” when they try to artificially depress their acceptance rates. Data shows that students who are qualified can still expect to get into elite schools as schools are making “themselves seem more popular by encouraging even unqualified applicants to apply.” The “shell game” that schools play adds to the calls for a formal ranking system from the government despite the protests of university officials.

        The Slate Magazine (12/1, Weissman) “Moneybox” blog reports that the college admissions game “isn’t nearly so vicious as the people who profit from it would have you believe” since admission rates are “misleading.” One factor driving down the admissions statistic is that many of the kids applying to top institutions “aren’t qualified” and are therefore not making the process more competitive for students with high grades and SAT scores.


There is another longer-running shell game–admitting students that colleges know have little chance of graduating, thus undermining the efforts of principals and teachers to raise the rigor of high school instruction.

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