Preparing for College

How Tough Is It?

In my work as an independent college admissions counselor over the years, I never see an application season go by without its usual group of applicants who come to me with a list of candidate schools that includes what I call "the usual suspects": Columbia, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, and, lest we forget, The Big Three: Princeton, Yale, and Harvard. Of course I'm talking about the Ivy League, whose member schools shimmer in the distance like an oasis of cool water before legions of status-thirsty applicants and their families, who have been blinded to the offerings of myriad other (translation: "lesser") colleges and universities. Oh, the price of "prestige."

Alrighty, then. If you're going to play with the high rollers, it's time to confront the odds. Just how hard is it these days to get into one of these august institutions? Let's take a look.

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