College Acceptance Rates Decreasing Due To Various Factors


Illustration Courtesy / Leah Lukasik

Declining acceptance rates put students’ academic futures at risk.

By the end of the school year, high school seniors have looked at colleges and have made their decisions for pursuing their next four years of education. However, this process was extra difficult for the class of 2022.

College acceptance rates have declined to an all-time low due to many factors such as gap year students, test-optional policies, and an increased number of applicants.

Many schools have adopted the policy of test-optional during the past two years. As of fall 2021, 65% of colleges in the US officially announced to be test-optional. With this being said, the college admissions process has become increasingly more competitive.

With these policies, thousands of more students are applying to universities which has resulted in a 22% increase in applicants with Common App.

Many colleges have decreased their acceptance rates, including Boston College (from 32% to 16%), Harvard University ( from 5% to 3%), Northeastern (from 20% to 7%), NYU (from 27% to 12%), and many others.

Many students had to reconsider the colleges they applied to and take into account the decreasing acceptance numbers.

“The declining acceptance rates for colleges made me a little more conscious of the schools I decided to apply to. Some schools that might have been a shoo-in before, weren’t so attainable this year. As decisions were coming in, I had to continue to remind myself that my worth was not equal to the number of acceptances I got,” said senior Damisola Adedeji.

Back in 2020, when Covid-19 hit, many students who had been accepted into universities for the upcoming fall decided to change their plans or delay their enrollment until learning returned to in-person. Those students are now attending college for the upcoming year.

With a surging increase in applicants and the gap-year students, there is a change of course for the college admission process for years to come.

Due to the increase in college deferrals, when an application’s review is postponed, many colleges no longer have reliable statistics to help guide them for their upcoming classes.

Acceptance rates have reached an all-time low for the class of 2026. Students are fighting to earn a spot at many universities that hold prestige, even if this means hiring tutors or paying people to assist in writing admission essays.

This is putting certain seniors at a disadvantage and putting unhealthy amounts of pressure on the application process

As a result, universities that were once difficult to be accepted into, have now become close to impossible.