To get a slightly more accurate idea of your admission chances to a particular school, use our college admissions calculator.
Your chance of getting a college rejection letter will be less likely if your top-choice school is ranked lower and has a higher admission rate.
For the Ivy League and other highly competitive schools, you'll definitely need to stand out from other applicants.
This can put you right in the crapshoot of college applications, significantly reducing your chance of acceptance (and thereby increasing your chance of rejection).
For more tips on how to put together a strong application, look at a real Harvard application and acceptance letter, supplied by our resident perfect SAT/ACT scorer. I applied to college in 2008 (yeesh, I'm getting old! At the time, Stanford was my top choice, so I applied restrictive early action, meaning that my application was due earlier (by November 1) and that Stanford was my #1 pick for college.
It could be anything from a love of writing short stories to a passion for chemistry.
Most importantly, your spike should be a field you're truly committed to and for which you have sufficient evidence to prove your commitment.Finally, I didn't take advantage of the AP/honors classes available at my high schools (I moved and attended two schools).I remember thinking that two or three AP classes and a couple of high AP scores would be good enough.If you have a spike as well as high test scores, a high GPA, etc., you'll have a much better chance of being a top-choice candidate for your school.All of this also means that you should avoid aiming for a well-rounded application.Here's why I'm telling you all of this: Now that you know my story, let's start with the positives: how to avoid getting rejected from college in the first place. At the time I thought I'd done fairly well on the test, but I didn't realize that pretty good isn't usually good enough for top schools like Stanford.If this doesn't work out for you, no worries—I'll also give you advice on what to do if you about what I did wrong in my application. I didn't have a "spike" that made me stand apart from other applicants; instead, I naively believed in the misconception that well rounded was what all top schools wanted the most. These days, you'd need to score around 1460 (or in the top 3%) just to meet the average at Stanford!You've sent out your applications and can't stop envisioning yourself at your top-choice school. Is it still possible to attend my top-choice school?But then the unthinkable happens: you get a college rejection letter. The truth is that I've been in this same situation.Your chance of college rejection is highest for schools ranked in the top 10.At these colleges, the typical applicant has a whopping 90-95% chance of getting rejected. How high or low your chances of rejection are will ultimately depend on the overall strength of your application (we discuss this more below).