Does A Low Acceptance Rate Mean A School Is Better?

is a low acceptance rate good

Flickr user Klaus Wagensonner

Is a low acceptance rate good? A low acceptance rate does not automatically mean a school is better. Despite the hype surrounding the acceptance rate, here’s the truth. It does not really tell you much about the quality of education you will receive at a particular school. It’s a measure of its exclusivity, not necessarily its quality or worth.

Myth: Selectivity Means Quality

The myth about low acceptance rate equaling higher quality education has gained traction over the years. That’s because some of the more well-known colleges tend to have lower acceptance rates.

The fact is, the only reason the more prestigious colleges have lower acceptance rates is because the number of students who apply to their programs typically far outnumber the number of seats they have available. Even if they are incredibly selective and demand high grades and test scores from their applicants, it’s important to keep in mind that that’s what it takes to get in, it doesn’t always indicate what you’ll get out of the school or the experience there.

Selectivity vs. Fit

Some of the most selective schools in the country are great schools, there’s no doubt there. But choosing to apply to a certain college just because of its exclusivity and name recognition might not be the best strategy.

More important than selectivity is how well the college fits you, and vice versa. Your academic performance and your overall college experience depends on your college fit. Fit can include a number of things: location, campus layout, class size, major programs, affordability, staff, student organizations, and plenty more.

Reach, Match, Safety

What the acceptance rate does tell you though is how difficult a particular college is to get into. The lower the acceptance rate, the more difficult it will be to get into that university. When short-listing colleges to apply to, think of these as your ‘reach’ colleges and make sure you only have a few of them on your list, along with safety and match schools.

If you want help finding your ideal college fit, College Raptor can help! With our free match tool, you can discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US!

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