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Is Getting Into College As Hard As We Think?

college-acceptance-letterThis time of year, we often hear stories of the incredibly complicated paths some students take in order to get into college. These stories focus on learners who have defied the odds, who have navigated a challenging process to gain access to postsecondary education.

The Hechinger Report recently noted that getting into college these days is easier than many think. Yes, there is still much work that must be put in to get into some highly competitive schools, work that begins well before the application process in one’s senior year. But for most students, college is indeed possible.

As Greg Daugherty wrote for Hechinger:

But behind the tales of teary-eyed applicants who didn’t make the cut is the reality that, with the exception of a tiny handful of extremely selective schools, getting into a good college today is easier — not harder — than many students realize. And it is likely to get easier still in the years ahead.

That means students and their parents often can negotiate for more financial aid from colleges that are secretly struggling to fill seats.

It’s also important because the perception that college is harder to get into than it actually is discourages some people from even bothering to apply, research shows, or steers them toward lower-quality institutions with poor graduation rates when they could have been accepted to much better schools.

Yes, it takes hard work for one to earn a postsecondary education. Yes, students need to be educated consumers, understanding the best colleges and the best programs that align to their interests and aptitudes. And yes, families need to ensure that an investment in a college education is one that will pay off when it comes to careers.

With all of this in mind, no student should feel postsecondary education is unattainable or too difficult to reach. Instead, it is about better understanding all available college and career pathways that may be available.

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