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With Increasing Selectivity, Are These Colleges on Your List?

Over the past decade, acceptance rates fell by half at top colleges across the country. As many colleges receive an increase in applications each year (one college now breaking 100,000), this trend is likely to continue.

What does this mean for you?

If you are applying to college next year, this trend is important to consider. As colleges become more selective, students must be thoughtful and strategic with their college lists—ensuring a strong balance of reach, target, and safety schools. Even a student with top grades and high test scores is not exempt from the need of safety schools. (However, with my Application Positioning, you will be able to apply to more competitive colleges across each category.)

Students should not simply apply to as many top colleges as possible with hopes of getting accepted to at least one. With acceptance rates at all-time lows, this strategy risks getting denied from many, if not all, of the colleges.

Instead, students should craft a list of “best-fit” colleges for reach, target, and safety schools. Then, the student should focus on the quality—not quantity—of their applications. By submitting higher-quality applications, students are more likely to get accepted, increasing the number of college options after high school graduation.

Keep in mind, there are many safety colleges that are highly ranked, prestigious, and reputable. You will find many top-100 colleges with acceptance rates above 30, 40, and even 50 percent.

For more information regarding this trend in selectivity, you may read my recent Huffington Post article, here.


On paper, I am by no means a perfect student. However, thanks to my Application Positioning, I was able to maximize the strengths that I bring to a college to compensate for other factors. Thanks to The Ivy Dean Team, I will be attending Princeton University, my dream school, in the fall.

Douglas R. – Princeton University

Dee provided excellent advice and guidance throughout the application process. Her overall expertise in admissions, professionalism and warmth made the experience a great one. I was thrilled that I was accepted to several of the most selective colleges in the country and will be attending Stanford in the fall.”

Laurel P. – Stanford University
It's my pleasure to inform you that I've been admitted to my first choice college: the University of Southern California. My dream is becoming reality! I am thrilled to get the chance to belong to the USC and to start a new adventure there. It is also thanks to your great help that I've been accepted, I'm very grateful! Thank you so much for everything.
Sonia G. – From Switzerland
Our son and daughter wanted to go to colleges in the same city but they had different interests and different strengths. She matched them each with their ideal college, one Columbia University and the other NYU, and worked to get them admitted. We couldn't have been more pleased.
Niki and Roger S.
I was a serious student but also wanted a university where I could continue competitive cycling. There weren't many schools that met my needs and fit my personality. From her experience, she was able to hone right in on what became my first choice school. I graduated last year and the entire college experience was awesome.
Colin J.
My parents and I didn't know how helpful it could be to have someone who understood things from the inside working with us. Ms. Blackman was able to identify just what would make me the most attractive candidate to colleges.
Bob M. – Harvard University