Yes, you can get into college.

Yes, you can get into college.

Maybe you haven’t heard the good news: most colleges accept most students.

That’s right.

A majority of colleges and universities in the US accept more than 50% of their applicants. Some examples include:

  • Penn State University (#59 in the US News Best Colleges rankings, and had a 50% acceptance rate in fall 2017)

  • Michigan State University (#85, 72% acceptance rate)

  • University of San Diego (#85, 50% acceptance rate)

  • Loyola University Chicago (#89, 71% acceptance rate)

  • Marquette University (#89, 89% acceptance rate)

  • University of Colorado, Boulder (#96, 80% acceptance rate)

  • Hofstra University (#140, 64% acceptance rate)

This is great news, because it means that if going to college is important to you or your family, you can definitely get in! Many of these schools are excellent places to learn, network, and start your career — and in fact, some of them might just be the perfect fit for you as a student.

Pause just a moment to breathe and let that sink in. Relax a little bit.

Now, the news you probably have heard: at the top tier of colleges and universities in the US, the vast majority of applicants are not accepted. If you have your dreams pinned on Stanford, Cornell, Amherst, or UChicago, you have your work cut out for you — and yes, the admissions rates at these schools have been dropping as more and more highly qualified students apply each year. Here’s the data for the past fifteen years at the Ivies and Stanford:

Ivies+Stanford, no highlight.jpg

(If you want to see how your own dream school compares, see our top-tier admissions data here.)

Another important aspect to consider is that the handful of colleges and universities that have started to offer no-loan financial aid packages to students — which means that students and families receive grants, not loans, with the result that college is entirely free for many students — are these same top-tier schools, in part because they’re the institutions that have the enormous endowments to make that happen. This adds extra pressure to get into these top-tier schools with more generous aid for many students.

The upshot? Yes, you can get into college. And it’s even more important than ever to craft a balanced college list, to make sure that while you reach for your dream schools, you have a good mix of match and safety schools, too, making sure that you do get into college.

Acceptance rates at the most selective US colleges

Acceptance rates at the most selective US colleges

The most competitive school?

The most competitive school?

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