Traditionally, the government requires children to undergo elementary school all the way up to high school, with laws in place for all children between the ages of four and sixteen to go to school. Education is essential to shaping a child’s future as well as giving them a segway to finding their interests. Of course, education is not the only deciding factor in one’s future, but it offers a stable path for many who would like to pursue a certain career. Once primary education and high school are completed, there are many options for the coming years from different types of jobs, trade schools, and colleges.
Most of the applicants for a college come from people who have just graduated from high school, but applications also include transfer students or people who want to pursue a specific field of study later on in their life. Educational institutions hold tremendous importance for all these people looking to continue their passions, but recently college acceptance rates have been on a significant downward trend. Though many colleges offer high admission rates or even instant admissions, some others tend to be much more selective in the process of choosing a student to attend their school. The prestige of a school does not determine whether one might succeed there, but it does bring attention to the value of an education and access to opportunities at that particular institution. Therefore, many applicants choose to apply to these selective colleges for their high ranking in a specific major. However, these schools already tend to have incredibly low acceptance rates, making the recent decline in admissions even more worrying. Getting into college is already difficult enough, but then comes the payment issue, which is tough for people who did not qualify for financial aid nor received sufficient assistance to cover the costs. In a country where many jobs require specific skills or a degree in a major, it seems the college process is becoming increasingly challenging.
We already know that many institutions are highly selective in their admissions, but why are admissions rates on a decline as of late? Not only is it because of the increasingly competitive nature of high school students in grades, extracurriculars, and so on, but it is also because of the new testing policies released due to the current global pandemic. Applying to college has always been demanding with more competition and higher standards each year, but the new test-optional and test-blind regulations that colleges recently adopted have made the process even more unpredictable. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, colleges realize that it is not plausible to expect students to take standardized tests during the current conditions safely. By removing the barrier for SAT or ACT scores, colleges have now allowed students to apply without submitting their scores for their applications.
These new adjustments initially sound promising since standardized tests are no longer mandatory for admissions, but this has, in fact, made admissions even more unpredictable than it already was. Due to these new guidelines, the number of students applying to colleges has skyrocketed since their scores no longer play a significant factor compared to previous years. Though these implemented policies sound like a push in the right direction to not judging students based on a test score, this arrives with a catch as it has shown to dramatically add to the pool of applicants for a certain school. This increase in applicants does not only affect the highly prestigious institutions but also colleges all across the nation, no matter their ranking. Thus, the battle for college admissions has turned into an even more cutthroat process, which will likely continue for the following year’s cycle and possibly the years to follow.