It’s not a secret, most of the top-ranked schools in the country are also the most selective. Students who apply to Dartmouth only have a 10.14% change of getting in. Some schools acceptance rates are even lower: no surprise that Harvard is the school with the lowest acceptance rate. View the 20 schools with the lowest acceptance rates here.
So what if you applied to your top school and ended up on the waitlist? The use of waitlists is growing practice, especially at competitive universities. However, most schools only accept roughly one third of the students placed on their waitlist, and for some schools it is much less than that.
Of course this is part of the draw of the top-ranked, prestigious universities. The higher the selectivity of the college, the more competitive the school and thus the better education you will receive, surrounded by many students of similar intellectual capacity and drive.
So you would think. However, some universities, especially private universities, do consider the ability of the student to pay when determining who should get accepted from the wait list. According to a study by NACAC, just about 50% of private colleges consider financial need when deciding whether to admit a wait-listed student.
Realistically, most students are not Harvard material, nor Brown, Yale or any of the other colleges that make it into the top 50 best ranked schools. Does this mean you have to settle for sub-quality education? Of course not! Students thrive in college when they're in a place that's a good fit for them and studying a major they are passionate about. For a college to be a good fit could mean a number of things. It could mean it’s close to where you live (or far away!), it could mean a high number of faculty who are available to meet with students outside of class, it could mean an excellent lacrosse program that allows students time to still focus on their classes.
That’s why there’s rankings for the rest of us. Create your own customized ranking tool to find your best fit.