Stanford rejected 95 percent of applicants, an all-time high among competitive schools. (If you applied, sorry.) The nation's most competitive schools got even more competitive this year, with record or near-record lows being the norm, according to Richard Pérez-Peña of The New York Times.
As admission rates drop, students begin applying to more schools, which raises the number of applicants and sends the admission rates plunging, creating a vicious cycle of rejection and application fees for the nation's middle and upper middle class private school educated children. “It was a crazy amount of work and stress doing all those essays by the deadline and keeping up my schoolwork, and waiting on the responses, and we had more than $800 in application fees,” Isaac Madrid told The Times. Madrid applied to 11 schools and will be attending Yale, after getting rejected from Stanford.
Several school's admission rates are half of what they once were, and admissions officers say the applicants they're rejecting are so talented they're indistinguishable from the kids who get in. And that leaves a window of opportunity for questions about fairness and race-based admissions. As Adam Liptak wrote for the Times on Monday, Edward Blum — the "legal entrepreneur" who worked with University of Texas at Austin reject Abigail Fisher during her Supreme Court Affirmative Action case — is still looking for people who may or may not have been rejected because of the color of their skin.
It's worth noting that Fisher was passed over because her class rank, test scores and GPA weren't competitive for the University of Texas at Austin. But that hasn't deterred Blum and his legal non-profit Project on Fair Representation from targeting Harvard University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
The group set up sites for each school that ask the visitor "Were you denied admission...? It may be because you’re the wrong race," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The group asserts that the three schools didn't meet the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin ruling that schools must determine that race-neutral admission policies are unworkable before using race-based policies. It's too early to say how unfair recently rejected students think the admission process was — the deadline for universities to send acceptances was April 1 — but there were a lot of kids whose Ivy League dreams were crushed this year.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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