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College applicants face rising admissions standards
More students taking tougher classes to boost chances of admission
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It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas. College admissions. Early admission decisions are coming back, regular admission deadlines are rapidly approaching, and high school seniors are stressed to the max.

Acceptance rates at colleges and universities around the country drop every year, but competition for spots at the state’s and the nation’s most prestigious colleges continue to get more heated. In 2014, Stanford only accepted 5 percent of its applicants for its freshman class.

“Kids see that the admit rates are brutal and dropping, and it looks more like a crapshoot,” Bruce Poch, a former admissions dean at Pomona College in Claremont, California, told The New York Times. “So they send more apps, which forces the colleges to lower their admit rates, which spurs the kids next year to send even more apps.”

According to UGA Today, the school received 10 percent more early applicants than applied last admission season, and the average GPA increased to a 4.11.

“It’s really hard to lock in if students are getting better grades as the state as a whole, but here, the number of kids taking AP courses rises every year,” said North Hall counselor Kathy Oxford. “If more kids are choosing AP across the state, then more rigor is being brought to the table.”

According to the Georgia Department of Education, the state’s test scores increased despite the nation’s decreasing.

Besides colleges’ rising standards, the Hope Scholarship requirements are also raising their standards. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA, but this is calculated with only the grades from math, science, social studies, language arts and foreign language classes. Any AP, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment classes will be weighted.

Aside from the GPA, students are now required to take classes that meet Hope’s rigor requirements. This list mainly includes AP and IB classes. By the time the class of 2018 graduates, students will have to have completed 4 courses from the list.

Because of Hope, many students choose to stay in-state instead of leaving, in order to lower their cost of tuition. This influx of in-state students could be the cause of dropping acceptance rates and increasingly high admission requirements, which students are then forced to comply with. And if there are more in-state applicants, then naturally, only the cream of the crop will be admitted.

“A smart group showed up this year, whether or not it had anything to do with the schools,” Oxford said.

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