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Why Your Safety School Rejected You

Top of your class. Straight As with many extracurriculars. Captain of the Varsity Soccer team. A top applicant, and got into all of your match schools. But, this college admission notification season, you rejected from…your safety school. Wait what?

This isn’t a case as unfamiliar as you might think, and is turning into quite the phenomenon. Accomplished students are being accepted to all of their reach and match schools but are being rejected from schools they are overqualified for. What’s the reason behind all of this?

As we all know, a college’s acceptance rate being low is something that most consider prestigious. These universities are constantly being compared against each other with that seemingly insignificant little percentage; they’ll stop at nothing to outdo each other. And so when colleges reject more and more applicants each year, their college looks better and better. But how can colleges that are generally easier to get into, lower their acceptance rate without denying good candidates?

As it turns out, there is a way. These kind of middle tier colleges get a lot of applicants, usually either not qualified enough, just qualified enough, or too qualified. The ones who are not qualified enough are rejected while the ones who qualify are accepted and are often more than happy to attend the school. But what happens to all those overqualified who applied? They most always end up not choosing that school, as it was their safety school. So, this school ends up admitting many overqualified people, many of whom don’t ever end up going there.

So, these colleges have found a way around this. They are starting to reject overqualified applicants, which in turn lowers their acceptance rate, and ultimately doesn’t do much harm as those students usually end up going to more prestigious schools anyways.

Are these schools in the clear though? Is it morally okay to just assume all “overqualified” candidates won’t attend and to deny them even an opportunity, just to increase the prestige of the school? What about the overqualified candidates who actually would’ve end up attending, perhaps because of a special program or opportunity that the university offers? Are these colleges doing themselves a disservice by ultimately turning away what could’ve been their next most prestigious alumni? Even beyond the university, is this fair to the students and even their parents, that spent hours and hours on their applications? Just to be turned away solely on the basis of an assumption? This is the question these middle tier colleges must ask themselves.

What do you think?

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