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Selective Colleges Even More Selective This year

When students apply to lots of colleges, the odds are good that they will get lots of rejections. But this has been a particularly tough year for students trying to get into the most selective colleges.

The Washington Post did a good roundup of spring acceptance rates in an article this week. Harvard led the list of schools with the lowest acceptance rate, at 6.2 percent, down from a 6.9 percent acceptance rate last year. Other schools with all-time high applications and record-low acceptance rates: Princeton at 8.4 percent, Dartmouth at 9.7 percent, and Duke at 12.6 percent.

While the intensity of the competition is ramped up at elite colleges, keep in mind that, overall, the average selectivity rate at four-year colleges and universities in the United States was 67 percent, according to the most recent report released in the fall of 2010 by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The institutional yield rate—the percentage of admitted students who enroll—was 43 percent. Twenty-three percent of students applied to seven or more schools, and the vast majority of students (75 percent) applied to three or more, NACAC reports.

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