Pressure of Low College Acceptance Rates on High School Students

Pandemic opens new windows for more applicants, strikes high school students with nerves for lower acceptance rates.

Pressure of Low College Acceptance Rates on High School Students

Updated: May 30, 2022

April 05, 2022

For those approaching the end of high school, a time so far away yet so seemingly close, students tend to feel a tremendous amount of nerves and pressure rushing their way. Whether it be their parents, friends, peers in school or even social standards, the pressure is on regarding whether or not they will be attending college.

More specifically, Ivy League schools place high standards and expectations on students applying, resulting in those who do decide to go to college feeling afraid that they won’t get accepted.

As stated in an NYU study, nearly half (49%) of all students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis and 31 percent reported feeling somewhat stressed. Females reported significantly higher levels of stress than males (60% vs. 41%). Grades, homework, and preparing for college were the greatest sources of stress for both genders.” 

In the time being, students have little to no movement left for relaxation and creativity; it is spent on growing as adults at such a young age. They already face extreme motions of stress from the homework and daily assignments that they are set to complete for the day. Many fail to realize the additional stress that stems from preparing for college – that is, if the individual does want to apply. 

Numerous students feel overwhelmed, unsure of what colleges to apply to and how to prepare for a life they don’t believe they are yet truly capable or fit for. Is parents’ pressure on their children among the reasons behind this? There are quite a few, such as being able to boast to other parents about their children, or simply because they want their children to succeed.

However, most parents often fail to realize that their children already feel nervous given the low acceptance rates of not only Ivy League schools, but normal colleges as well. Due to the pandemic, it is evident that acceptance rates have significantly lowered. Why?

According to CBS News, “Many U.S. universities this year are reporting record low acceptance rates after switching to test-optional policies during the pandemic that opened the door to a larger pool of applicants.” 

The global pandemic created more opportunities for applicants to apply, but at what cost? An increase in applicants only led to a decrease in the amount who are accepted. The reason that there is such an immense increase in applicants is that there is a test-optional policy, meaning many colleges aren’t demanding that SAT and PSAT scores be submitted; rather they are looking at those who are best fit for their schools.

As there is a decrease in the number of Covid-19 cases, we can hope to see acceptance rates rise once again, further allowing new admissions. Unfortunately, stress is inevitable when it comes to dealing with such life changing decisions. It is a common struggle that we all go through.