Four years ago, after presiding over the admissions decisions for the Class of 2010, Dartmouth's former dean of admissions Karl Furstenberg lamented: "We've reached a point where the selectivity is getting kind of ridiculous." If he thought that was ridiculous, what must he think of the new lows for the Class of 2014?

This year 7 of the 8 Ivies, plus such selective universities as Stanford and MIT, posted record low acceptance rates; only Yale (which saw a slight decline in applications) held "steady" at the already ridiculously low acceptance rate of 7.5%. To cite a few other depressing stats, UPenn's admit rate fell nearly 3 percent to 14.2%; Duke's admit rate sank to 14.8% down about 18% last year. Even former Ivy "safeties" such as Vanderbilt and GW saw alarming drops in their admit rates: GW dropped 5 percentage points to 31.5% and

Vanderbilt accepted only 16.3%. But the prize goes to the University of Chicago,  which went on a marketing blitz and scored 42% more applications than last year and dropped the admit rate approximately 27% to 18%!

Does any of this make sense? As the arms race for selective college admissions escalates, and as acceptance rates test new lows, it doesn't bode well for the current class of juniors applying for the Class of 2015. Counselors, including this blogger, expect that next year's applicants will panic and flood the system with even more applications in response.

The following comment, posted anonymously in response to a 4/5/10 Yale Daily News article Admissions Game Getting Riskier, pretty much sums up the absurdity:

The ridiculousness that is the admissions process nowadays will continue until applicants, parents, and counselors understand that there is no way to build an applicant who is "guaranteed" admission anywhere. These schools have the luxury of receiving so many outstanding applications that they could build an elite incoming class - if not several - out of students who were rejected.