You don’t even think about applying to Harvard and Yale unless you think you’re elite college material, crème de la crème. But the number of students who feel they meet this criteria brings to mind the old poll in which amazingly 80% of Americans felt they were “above average.” (That number can never be above 50%, of course, but all you Ivy League applicants know that.) Anyway either it has never been more challenging to get into an elite college, or else there have just never been so many delusional aspirants. Application numbers keep rising, especially now since the Common Application makes applying to most schools a one-size-fits-all proposition. There’s an application fee, but who wouldn’t wager $75 on a chance to walk around for the rest of your life saying “I went to Harvard”?
But that wager has increasingly long odds of paying off. Last year, to fill its class of 2021, according stats provided to Business Insider, Harvard selected 2,056 out of 39,506 applicants. Yale chose 2,272 out of 37,389 applicants. Together the two universities rejected 68,078 kids. That’s a lot of thin envelopes. Or does Harvard just break hearts and smash dreams with a text these days? At least these traditional institutions aren’t ghosting. Yet.