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We will break down how they are calculated, what a low acceptance rate really means, and why we hear so much about selective college admissions.
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Simply put, the more applicants a school can attract, the lower the acceptance rate it will ultimately have.
This is compounded when a school can attract a large number of applicants for only a small number of places.
For example, if College A has 100,000 applicants and accepts 5,000 students, their acceptance rate is 5%.
If College B has 10,000 applicants and also accepts 5,000 students, their acceptance rate is 50%.
This means that fewer than 10% of students who apply will ultimately be offered a place there.
But in order to boast a low acceptance rate, a school must do more than attract top students.
Each year, colleges release some basic information about their recently accepted students, usually including test scores, demographics, total applicants, and acceptance rate.
For high school students currently looking at colleges, the acceptance rate can be a focal point among these statistics.