A thought-provoking question arises for Ivy League hopefuls who experienced the college application process two decades ago. Can they still secure admission to prestigious universities in the present day?
According to an experienced international student, the answer is not guaranteed. This seasoned individual, who completed their undergraduate studies at the esteemed liberal arts college Swarthmore College and went on to graduate from Stanford University, later served as an interviewer at Swarthmore College for several years. In 2013, they penned a reflective diary entry, expressing deep contemplation:
“If I were to face the current level of competition when I applied to American universities ten years ago, would I have been admitted?”
During their tenure as a Chinese interviewer at Swarthmore College, the individual witnessed a series of impressive yet strikingly similar resumes from applicants. These resumes showcased participation in Model United Nations, international exchanges, and a plethora of extracurricular activities.
Another interviewer candidly remarked, “The resumes of these Chinese applicants are becoming more and more similar to those of American students.”
As we fast forward to the year 2023, a decade has passed. With economic development and shifting perspectives, an increasing number of middle-class families have chosen the path of studying abroad. However, this path has become narrower compared to ten or twenty years ago.
As the times change, the path to prestigious American universities has become increasingly challenging for both veteran Chinese students who studied abroad two decades ago and accomplished Ivy League applicants from a decade ago.
This new generation of students faces unique obstacles, with their high school experiences shadowed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptive influence of AI and emerging technologies.
The landscape of university admissions has evolved significantly, rendering the past experiences of seasoned Chinese students less applicable in today’s competitive environment. Even those who were once regarded as top achievers in Ivy League circles a decade ago might struggle to make the cut in today’s intensified competition.