As Acceptance Rates Fall, Soft Skills Matter More Than Ever

As Acceptance Rates Fall, Soft Skills Matter More Than Ever

Admissions rates are falling quite dramatically, and not just at the nation’s top 10 schools. Mt. Holyoke’s overall acceptance rate dropped 15 points, from 51% in 2017 to 36% in 2019. NYU’s fell from 28% to 16% in the same two years. For a survey of some of the […]

Admissions rates are falling quite dramatically, and not just at the nation’s top 10 schools. Mt. Holyoke’s overall acceptance rate dropped 15 points, from 51% in 2017 to 36% in 2019. NYU’s fell from 28% to 16% in the same two years. For a survey of some of the most significant reductions between 2017-2019 as indicated in the chart below.

One could respond to the data with renewed conviction that your child must work even harder to get good grades, increase extracurricular engagement, find leadership opportunities, do research, get an internship, play a sport, etc. Yet the latest trends in admissions (yes, there are trends over time) favor something beyond this conventional picture of high-achievement. The model has changed.

As it turns out, top universities these days are excited about students who are ready to take on the world, and take care of it. These students are not necessarily “well-rounded” but rather deeply engaged in activities, projects, and/or inquiries that signal to an admissions reader: “I’ve been practicing for the future.”

As Acceptance Rates Fall, Soft Skills Matter More Than Ever

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About the author: Caitlyn Wang
Caitlyn has scored above 99% every standardized tests she's taken since the ripe young age of 7, from the Wechsler IQ test, ABSRM piano performance exam to SAT. She is a proven senior business leader with global marketing, product development, supply chain management backgrounds who likes to tackle the impossible and has managed teams on three continents. Equally important, she is a devoted mother of two, a skilled pianist, certified yoga and aerial teacher, vocalist and lifelong learner.

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