School is finally out and that means I am reviewing students' college lists on a daily basis. While I know better than anyone that a student's essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation are often the reason they get admitted to college, they have to have the objective pieces in place to be competitive for those essays, extracurricular activities, and letters to make a difference.
When reviewing a college list, I look at the student's transcript through junior year, their senior year classes, and any test scores they have available at this point. But I also look at one more data point that is the ultimate influencer on whether I keep a college on a student's list or remove it.
The college's acceptance rate.
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Don't rely on outside sources for the most important piece of data you need to build a well-balanced list. The college's acceptance rate is a moving target. But getting your hands on the most recent percentage will make a difference in your college list and outcomes. For those colleges that hide this information from students, shame on them. If colleges aren't willing to be transparent about the most essential data point a student needs in this process, what else are they hiding?