Is it easier to get into Stanford, if I’m from Ohio?

I’m often asked how to get into Stanford, Dartmouth, or another selective college. Boy, that sure is a silver bullet question and hard to approach.

The admissions probability depends on a number of factors. What makes this probability even more dynamic is that students are admitted within the context of a cohort. In short, the other applicants during any given year may alter your chances of admission.

Getting into Stanford depends on a number of factors

For example, one of the considerations for many admissions officers as they admit a cohort of students is geographic distribution. In 2010, there were 18 freshmen at Stanford hailing from Ohio. (See this cool interactive chart for  the freshman geographic distribution of other US colleges.) The highest number of Ohioans in a recent Stanford freshman class was 26, back in 2004. If there are 100 students applying from Ohio during your application year then your chances based on geographic distribution alone are roughly 20%.

The other admissions factors, such as rigor of high school curriculum, recommendations, essays, etc. are then layered onto this consideration. In short, there is no science to predicting how easy or difficult it will be to gain admission to Stanford, whether you’re from Ohio, Chicago, or Palo Alto, CA.

The key for all applicants to remember is that there are so many great colleges that could be an excellent fit for you. There’s no such thing as only one college.

Increased applications to University of California, perhaps due to SAT Subject tests

All nine of the University of California campuses received over 160 thousand applications for Fall 2012 admissions. This figure represented an overall 13% increase over last year, with a 19% increase for freshman admissions and a 4% decline in transfer applicants. The 93,000 resident freshmen applicants included a diverse pool:

  • 44.5% – first-generation
  • 39% – family income less than $44K annual
  • 30% – Latino background

UC has its own separate application and not a member of the Common Application. A change that may have attributed to this year’s increased number of applicants is that UC eliminated the requirement of two SAT subject tests. (Wow, that must have really put a dent in the College Board’s revenue stream!)

Approximately 33,000 out-of-state prospective freshmen applied to the UCs. It will be interesting to learn whether the admissions rate for non-residents is more favorable given the funding shortage in California. Reports indicate that non-residents currently comprise about 7% of the overall student body versus a mandated cap of 10%. Last year, the more popular campuses for non-residents were Berkeley, which admitted about 22%; UCLA, 15%; and UCSD at 12%. Perhaps if you’re a non-resident, you should add Davis, Riverside, or Santa Cruz to your list. 🙂 Either way, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for all my highly qualified resident and non-resident applicants to the UC campus of their choice!

Merit Aid: When you don’t Qualify for Need-based Aid

The key question on the minds of so many families is “How do I pay for college?” January 1 was the release date for the FAFSA which is Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Others think of FAFSA as the form to complete if you qualify for need-based aid. Each year, however, there are many colleges that require that families complete the FAFSA to be considered for merit aid as well. Another form that is sometimes required is the CSS Financial Aid Profile. The acronym stands for College Scholarship Service and they are a separate organization run by College Board (the SAT folks). This form requires different information from families although it is reviewed by colleges to qualify students for financial aid and merit aid awards as well. Please review each college’s website to determine the required form(s).

Joining The Education Doctor Radio Show today was Debbie Davis of Davis Education and Career Consultants, based in Ridgefield, CT. Debbie has over 30 years of professional experience and has served families throughout the New England region and nationally on college and career advising. In serving her client families, Debbie has established deep expertise in merit and financial aid. Please check our podcast here to learn what Debbie shared about the importance of completing the FAFSA and finding the value proposition in college selection.