There is a perception that admission to an Ivy League school is only attainable by wealthy, well-connected applicants.
Guess what? bragTAG’s look at the class of 2015’s Ivy League admission statistics says that may not be the case.
Many thanks to Amy Summers Melvin, of The National Beta Club! Ms. Melvin is our go-to person when we write about topics which are simply beyond our understanding and experience – and we thank her for her insight, kindness and patience!
Let’s clear a few things up about perceptions and take a look at the numbers.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Remember the old saying “believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see”?
If you have heard that admission to an Ivy League college is a gift reserved for only those whose moons and stars were perfectly aligned on the day they were born, don’t believe it.
If you have seen your friends or relatives throw in the towel at applying to an Ivy League school because the admissions process was too hard or they felt they would never be able to afford it, don’t let it deter YOU. The college application process is not a simple one – regardless of the status of the institution.
Here’s some numerical inspiration to keep in mind when the going gets tough:
Although Harvard only offered a 6.2 percent admission rate to 35,000 applicants for the class of 2015, 43.8 percent of those admitted to Harvard’s class of 2015 were lower-income and under served students.
Princeton offered admission to 8.39 percent of the 27,189 who applied. 46.9 percent of this admit rate were self-identified as one of the above mentioned students.. Nearly 44 percent of Dartmouth’s class of 2015 is comprised of students with diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds.
Check out 2015 Ivy League College’s Acceptance Rates for more detail regarding these numbers.
It seems that the Ivy’s are moving with the times, realizing that if their student body populations are to reflect the ever-increasing shift in demographics occurring in the rest of the world, a greater effort has to be made on the part of Ivy League admissions counselors.
So Why Aren’t More Under Served Students Applying?
The answer seems to lie amid a number of different factors. The idea of applying to college can put any student into a mental tailspin. When the words “Ivy League” are inserted in the previous sentence, the stress level is increased by 100%.
Dave Berry of College Confidential likens the Ivy League application to the size of a “phone book”.
If the application size doesn’t put you off and you visit a campus, many students visiting Ivy League schools find the campuses do not have students with their ethnic background, and that the faculty and administration is largely White/non-Hispanic. This can give the student the impression that they may not fit in or benefit from attending an Ivy League school – although we expect things to change in the area of campus life as their admit rates increase.
The biggest factor influencing the under served (and pretty much anyone) considering applying to an Ivy League college is the cost. And last, but certainly not least, is the unfortunate fact that potential lower-income applicants many times don’t have access to critical information on how to apply, deadlines and extra-curricular activities admissions counselors are looking for.
It Takes a Village
Fortunately, schools are realizing the difficulties faced by under served students and are putting programs in place to help them navigate the admissions process. Two programs working with high school students and their parents are National Council of La Raza’s Lideres program and New York’s REACH. These organizations mentor college applicants on how to apply, where to get information, the importance of starting early with good grades, and extra-curricular involvement as well as goal setting for future careers, scholarships and how to find financial aid. All of this is critical for anyone to gain admission to college, much less an Ivy League school.
High School guidance counselors must encourage low-income and under served students to apply to Ivy League schools and join programs such as New York’s REACH to help them successfully navigate the admissions process. Ivy League Colleges also need to address the issues of a lack of diversification in their educators on their staffs, and increase the availability of information regarding campus life benefits for the under represented and financial aid for low-income students.
So What’s a College Bound Girl (or Boy) to Do?
First, give serious thought to which college(s) is the right fit for you. See the link in May 8th’s College Admissions Weekly Roundup for some valuable tips. Second, make an appointment with your school guidance counselor or trusted advisor and ask them to help you with the application process as well as researching financial aid and grants you may qualify for. Contact an organization like REACH.
Stay motivated, work hard and don’t give up.
In order to be considered by an Ivy League or upper tier university or college, you must also be an academically sound student – and that takes hard work no matter your ethnicity, background or income level!