Mar 17, 2012

UVa and Johns Hopkins among Nation’s Most ‘Selective’ Colleges

This week, a number of prestigious colleges and universities, including MIT and CalTech, began the annual process of rolling out the final round of admissions decisions. And the news wasn’t universally good, as suggested by the number of disappointed applicants posting their thoughts on the College Confidential discussion board.

“Rejection is such an anticlimax,” mused one. While another shrugged, “I was expecting to get rejected, and I’m not as sad as I thought I would be.”

As admissions season reaches the inevitable crescendo of a long and stressful process, the Princeton Review in conjunction with the Huffington Post took closer look at the most “selective” colleges in the country. And some of the results were a little surprising to even the most seasoned college watchers, who passed the list along to colleagues.

The 16 most selective colleges were derived from a rating measuring how competitive admissions are at schools landing a place among the Princeton Review Best 376 Colleges. The rating is determined be several “institutionally-reported” factors, including the class rank, average standardized test scores and average GPA of entering freshmen.

Also factored in are the percentage of out-of-state students and the percentage of applicants accepted. The rating is given on a scale of 60 to 99, and only those schools with a 99 rating made the group of most selective.

While the usual suspects—Harvard, Yale, and Princeton—made appearances on the Princeton Review list, some surprises included the Cooper Union in New York City and super small Deep Springs College located on a cattle-ranch and alfalfa farm in California’s High Desert.

Locally, the University of Virginia was the only public institution rated as most selective. None of the DC institutions were on the list, but Johns Hopkins in Maryland found a spot.

The entire list, in alphabetical order, includes:

  • Amherst College, MA
  • Columbia University, NY
  • Cooper Union, NY
  • Deep Springs College, CA
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, MA
  • Harvard University, MA
  • Johns Hopkins University, MD
  • MIT, MA
  • Princeton University, NJ
  • Stanford University, CA
  • University of Chicago, IL
  • University of Pennsylvania, PA
  • University of Virginia, VA
  • Vanderbilt University, TN
  • Williams College, MA
  • Yale, CT

As very personal lessons in selectivity are doled out over the coming weeks, it might be wise to keep in mind the College Confidential posting of one student dealing with a rejection notice from the college he had hoped to attend. “We shouldn’t look at college decisions as the end of the road, but as the beginning of a new journey.”

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