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College Selectivity

When making application decisions, prospective college students consider college characteristics such as cost, financial aid, distance from home, strength of programs, and the likelihood of admission. Most students and parents believe that to some extent attending more selective colleges leads to higher paying jobs and a greater chance of being admitted to strong graduate programs. To gain information about colleges, students often turn to publications such as U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings or Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. These sources rank colleges based on selectivity measures such as the average SAT and high school rank of incoming freshmen, the percentage of faculty with PhDs, average class size, and financial resources. This entry describes how college selectivity is measured and used in economic ...

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