College Acceptance Rates: Why so low?

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Hayley S, Feature Editor

Many Minnetonka students aspire to go to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. MHS senior Laura Studer agrees, “When I was little, I’ve always wanted to go to the U. My entire family—mom, dad, grandparents, sister—all went to the University of Minnesota as well. So the U has always been a part of my life.” As one of Minnesota’s top schools, “The U” was ranked 64 out of 197 colleges in the 1st Tier of the National College Rating in 2009. The U.S. News and World Report said in 2009 that the U of M has become “more selective,” accepting only 50% of their applicants. Why have University of Minnesota admissions become so selective in their acceptance? Has admission to the university really risen so high that they had to lower their acceptance rate? The answer is yes, and this has been happening all across America. College acceptance rates have gone down while admission has gone up, simply because too many people are applying.

                Our society emphasizes that college is the key to the “American Dream.” Minnetonka High School seems to thinks that way as well; 92% of last year’s graduating seniors enrolled in college.  Students are told constantly that college will lead to a better job, more money, and happier life. Who wouldn’t want to go to college after hearing that promise? This view is reflected in college admissions, as so many students believe that college really will ensure them a better job and a better life. Colleges see the growing number of applicants and have to lower their acceptance rate. However, society’s almost utopian view of college is not the only reason that college admissions have become harder to get into; some students are applying who should not be.

                For many, it is somewhat surprising to think that college is not the best fit for everyone. In some cases, however, this is true, evident by the low acceptance ratings. According to the essay “Beyond One-Size-Fits-All College Dreams,” some students believe that “college is a place where previous low achievement doesn’t matter,” for “just as they managed to graduate from high school despite low achievement and minimal efforts, they expect the same in college.” Low-achievers believe that college will be just as easy as high school, and that they do not have to work as hard. Thus, they apply to college, thinking that very statement. James Rosenbaum, the author of Beyond College for All, states that “the vast majority of students who were low-achieving in high school fail to get any college degree, and many don’t get a single college credit.” These students would be much better off not applying to college and instead going elsewhere. Society needs people in the workforce, to be in vocations such as an air traffic controller, a taxi driver, a musician, a travel agent, an artist, a photographer, or an author.  Of course, while this does not apply to all low-achievers, it is the main reason as to why college admissions are so high, as people are applying who should not be.

                College, the establishment viewed so highly by America, is simply not the right place for everyone. College is not a one-size-fits-all institution, and just because one goes to college does not mean that all that he or she will have a better life because of it. If everyone realized this, maybe fewer dollars would be wasted on unfinished degrees or unnecessary educations.