Why is it Hard to Get Into College in 2024?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


You are planning to go to college. Maybe you just got out of high school with a fresh diploma, or perhaps you have been putting off getting your degree for too long and want to make amends. Regardless, you want to apply for college, pay your tuition, and walk away with a bachelor’s degree or maybe even a master’s.

However, college is far harder to get into than you thought. Applications fail, costs are too high, and the prospect seems less and less attractive. Why is it hard to get into college in 2024, and can anything make it easier?

What You Need to Know About College Admission?What You Need to Know About College Admission?

On the surface, applying to college is relatively simple; it is a straightforward process when you have everything you need. But what exactly do you need to apply to a college? These examples apply for most colleges in the United States, but there are always exceptions for certain colleges.


Most colleges require that a student finished high school. While they can get a GED without going to high school, specific colleges ask applicants for details such as their high school transcript, grade point average, and the kind of classes and credits they have obtained are unique to high school students. Colleges that accept GEDs are typically light on the requirements listed below. There are additional requirements to applying to a college, such as having an SAT or ACT score.

Tuition & Costs

Tuition is likely the most significant hurdle when it comes to applying to college, though it does not factor into the college admission itself. Students must pay tuition and other fees, such as the aforementioned room & board costs, to enter college comfortably. Other considerations in terms of costs include school supplies, such as textbooks, electronics like laptops, and fees, such as the clearance to use a gym or game room.

The cost of admission, however, is only relevant if and when a student is accepted into a college, though every student should know from the beginning if they can afford to go to their college of choice.


When a student has all of the requirements and considerations in order, then comes the application. Typically, a college has students apply by sending in a form where the student enters all of their personal information. Some colleges also require an interview with the staff so that they can gauge a student’s possible admission through a one-to-one meeting.

Another thing a student needs to consider is when they can apply. Colleges do not just accept applications from any point in time: there is a window in which a student has to send in their form. Colleges have programs called “Early Action” or “Early Decision,” in which students can submit their applications earlier than usual and have their applications reviewed sooner. Early Action/Decision are excellent options for students applying to multiple colleges simultaneously. The two programs are typically identical: however, “Early Decision” colleges require that students attend their school if they are accepted and not apply to another college. “Early Action” does not have this restriction.


The details listed above are required by college, but there are additional factors that influence your chance of being admitted to the college while not being necessarily required. Most commonly, these considerations come in the form of letters of recommendation from peers or other teachers and professors or needing to live in the same state as the college campus. Some colleges may also require that a student lives on campus, which may come with an additional cost on top of the school’s tuition.

Whew! That is a lot to go into what’s sending in a letter. Why colleges are so hard to get into should not be a big wonder. But what we’ve shown you is not the whole truth. Why exactly has college admission become so competitive?

Why Has College Admission Become So Competitive?

Why Has College Admission Become So Competitive?

For decades, children, teenagers, and even adults are raised and taught the importance of college; how they need to go to college to land their dream job. Decades ago, getting into college was relatively simple, and one could work as a fry cook and still attend their lectures and gain enough money to pay their tuition and the new house mortgage. But things have changed since then. What are the reasons the field has become more competitive? Well, there are a handful of key reasons.

More Selective Processes

The first reason would be the rigid selection processes of the colleges themselves. Many students apply to a college, so they must be more selective to prevent being swamped with new applications.

The University of Texas in Austin is a good example: a great school with a gorgeous, expansive campus, good financial aid, a faculty who give great lectures and are invested in teaching their students, and generally is a college that will look good on your resume. However, it is highly selective. It has a meager 28% acceptance rate, so your chances of getting into it are low. UT-Austin is known as a premier college with a sizable student base; both reputations are earned by being selective.

More people are getting into college, which is one part of making it so competitive. Acceptance rates are dropping, and so are graduation rates, as more people cannot afford the time and money to keep attending college.

Increased Cost

Speaking of cost, the price of tuition has gone up, and so have the number of people who have taken financial aid, namely student loans, which result in them needing to pay those loans in the future, cutting down on the money they get to spend for their needs, like lights and housing, let alone what they want to buy. Needless to say, we are quite far removed from the days of being able to afford college on a fry cook’s wage.

Another factor in a college’s competitiveness is its importance in the grand scheme. More jobs ask for and only accept those who have finished college. Before, you can get an excellent job out of high school. Now, as the job market of degree holders has increased, the expectations of the jobs have increased in turn.

Increased Accessibility

Finally, another factor is the general increase in access to standardized testing. Prep for necessary tests like the SAT and ACT are more accessible than ever, meaning college applications have more to their application than before. However, this means the average has increased; thus, you have to have more to stand out.

But enough about how difficult it is to enter college. You need to know how to make it easier for yourself. And for that, we have three tips on how to improve your college admission chances.

3 Tips to Improve Your College Admission Chances

3 Tips to Improve Your College Admission Chances

It is never impossible to apply for a college; even a 1% chance is still a chance. With these three tips, however, you can make even the slightest chance into something far more feasible. While we cannot guarantee that this will get you into the college of your dream, it will definitely increase your chances of doing so.

Breed Academic Results

The first thing that any college looks for is how good of a student you are, and the best way to tell them, “yes, I am a good student,” is to get your grade up. If you are in high school, get to developing study habits and raising your grade point average by acing those tests. It would help if you also took the SAT and ACT for another example of your academic prowess. The latter option is perfect for people and potential students out of high school.

Apply, Apply, Apply

Apply to as many schools as you are capable of going to. Don’t let yourself be thwarted by one lousy rejection: a given state has many different colleges to attend. It would be best to try applying to less famous and competitive community colleges. And even if you get rejected for college once, you can always try again at a later date!

Make Connections

An overlooked aspect of admission is how much you can earn and achieve when you gain more information and put yourself out there. You can contact relevant people to learn more about the college you’re applying to see your realistic chances of acceptance. You can ask people you know (but not too closely, like close friends, spouses, or family) to help you get a letter of recommendation, which will make your application more attractive.

Wrapping Things Up: Why is it Hard to Get Into College in 2024?

Why is it hard to get into college in 2024? There are many different reasons, including many people competing and vying for colleges due to the increased importance of college. No matter what someone may tell you, getting into college is getting hard. However, that does not mean it is impossible. With extra studying, application, and an effort to become more informed of your colleges of choice, you can beat the odds and become a college student!

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Perhaps you’re a high school junior or senior considering to take AP Chemistry and are weighing the merits of this challenging yet rewarding course. Known for its rigorous academic demands and significant time investment, AP...

Read More
How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

One common misconception about college is that only students in their teens and early twenties attempt college. Unfortunately, this misconception has stopped many older people from enrolling in college to further their education. But the...

Read More