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Take-Aways from the 2023/2024 Admissions Cycle

When most people think of March Madness, they think of basketball. In the world of college admissions, we think of March as the time most regular decision answers come out and all of our students’ dreadful waiting comes to an end. The end of March usually brings decisions from the most selective universities in the country. This includes Ivy Day when all Ivy League schools release their decisions on the same day at the exact same time. But no pressure, right??

Here’s a recap of what we at Galin have seen regarding admission at uber-selective schools:

Everywhere has gotten more selective.

Yes, even the school so selective that you didn’t think they could accept fewer students. There’s a few reasons this is happening. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing the majority of schools to go test-optional, they have received record-breaking numbers of applicants. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are only so many spots available. For example, Brown University received nearly 50,000 applications this year, making it the third-largest applicant pool in the history of the university. Yet, they only were able to admit 2,519 students.

It’s not enough to have perfect grades.

Make no mistake, getting good grades is a HUGE accomplishment! That being said, the majority of students accepted to very selective universities have a 4.0 GPA. Activities, recommendations, and essays are just as important. Make sure that you are getting involved in activities that you enjoy, showing off your skills in class, and brainstorming essay topics that show admission offices who you are!

Show universities that you are interested!

This is called “demonstrated interest.” Every time you sign up for an official tour, attend a live information session, or go to an on-campus event, you are showing the school you are excited about applying! Not all schools track this data, but those that do take it into consideration when reading your application. Click here to find more information about demonstrated interest and a list of schools that track it.

Final thoughts: The last few years have been unprecedented when it comes to admission selectivity. This post isn’t meant to crush students’ dreams, or discourage them from applying to where they think may be a good fit. My hope is that students and families take away key findings and tips when applying to any school, whether the acceptance rate is 75% or 4%. Remember, your Galin college counselor is always here to help you and answer any questions you may have during this very daunting process!