College Acceptance Rates Dropping in the Wake of College Admissions Scandal


(Courtesy of

College acceptance rates have dropped significantly over the years.

Courtney Huitt, Photojournalist

The anticipated month of March has come and gone for the seniors here at YLHS who were waiting to hear back from their “dream” colleges. College admission letters have just come back and the acceptances into prestigious colleges were very low for our top seniors. Those with close to perfect test scores and all-around impressive applications were turned away from their dream schools of Stanford, USC, and UCLA. According to the New York Times, this year, elite colleges and universities around the country announced record low acceptance rates this week as the investigation of the college admissions scandal continues on. For example, provided by Breitbart, USC, which is currently known as being in the middle of the admissions scandal, has reported an 11 percent acceptance rate. This is the lowest acceptance rate in the school’s history. The question is, are the low college acceptance rates attributed to the college admissions scandal or just harder competition among students and more impacted schools.  


News of these low acceptance rates has been very upsetting for parents and students, being in the middle of a huge cheating scandal that involved several top tier colleges. Timing was unfortunate as the scandal broke the news near the beginning of March, close to when college admissions emails begin popping up in students’ inboxes, for better or for worse. For most students and parents, the cutthroat nature and image of exclusivity that these prestigious colleges hold are what interests. To know that some students have been able to bribe and cheat their way into colleges like USC and UCLA has been very unsettling for those who go and are hoping to go to these colleges.


So as college admissions rates go down, anxiety among parents and students go up. Maddox Nieto (Former Student) shares on how he is debating on going to a junior college for a couple of years in the hopes of transferring into a better college, like UCLA, than he would be able to get accepted into as an incoming freshman. As reported by the New York Times, Yale’s acceptance rates have decreased from 6.31 percent in 2018 to 5.91 percent this year. These low rates solidify top colleges like Yale with their exclusive and prestigious statuses at the expense of high school students. According to the New York Times, colleges have realized that publishing their acceptance rates have fueled the fire of the “madness of college admissions”. To combat this fire, some colleges like Stanford have announced that they will “no longer release admissions data to the public, only to the federal government.” It should be noted that last year, 2018, Stanford’s acceptance rate was lower than Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale at 4.3 percent.


As the admissions scandal is not over yet and federal investigators are still in the midst of the investigation, no answers are completely clear. But there is one thing that everyone knows for sure, the college admissions process is not perfect. With so many applicants every year, it is unrealistic to expect perfection. There are some colleges that you get denied from that you should have gotten into as well as there are some colleges that you get into that you should not have. Are students not getting into colleges because of people like Olivia Jade Giannulli who bribe their way into college or is it just impacted schools and tougher competition? Hard to tell, but the effect is still the same; it is getting more and more difficult to get into top colleges.