Ivy League Offers False Hope to Kids It Won't Accept
Elite universities profit from acting interested in unqualified students
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2011 5:04 PM CDT
Extensive mailings from schools like Harvard have led to an increase in applications while admissions become increasingly select.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Ivy League schools cram high school students' mailboxes full with glossy recruitment packages, only to greet them weeks later with far less appealing rejection letters. Critics say elite universities like Harvard and Columbia set up potential applicants for disappointment by wooing them with pamphlets, posters, and promise, pocketing hefty application fees of up to $90 from students who have little chance of actually getting accepted, Bloomberg reports.

All eight Ivy League schools received a record number of applications this year—including Harvard, which took in 35,000 submissions yet accepted a school low of 6.2%. Consumer groups say it's all part of a racket between the universities and the nonprofit College Board, which owns the standardized SAT and ACT tests and sells students' personal details to the schools. But some schools, like Yale and MIT, have cut back on casting a wide net for applicants. "Total application count is taken as some kind of proxy for school popularity," says the dean of undergraduate admissions for Yale, which has cut its marketing mailings by 30% since 2005. "If a student has only the most remote chance in admission, I feel it’s inappropriate to try to persuade a student to send an application."