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Some of America's best universities/ have accepted an unusually low percentage of students/ for admission/ this fall. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported/ that Stanford University/ had a record low admission rate/ this year. The newspaper said/ the California school/ accepted less than eleven percent of the students/ who applied.

College admissions officers/ give a number of reasons/ for the higher rates/ of rejection letters/ this year. They say/ the main reason is/ that high school seniors/ are applying to more schools/ than in the past. Some colleges/ reported big increases/ in the number of applications. Another reason/ is the general increase/ in students/ going to college.

Electronic forms/ make applying/ easier. For example, students/ can send an online form/ called the Common Application/ to many different colleges and universities.

Many students/ who apply to top schools/ are placed/ on a waiting list. They do not get a decision/ until the school knows/ how many applicants/ who are offered admission/ will accept the offer. Just as students/ compete, so do schools.

Wait-listed applicants/ might not find out/ until May or June, at the end of their senior year. Admissions officers say/ they use wait-listing/ because it is difficult/ to know/ which applicants/ really want to attend their school.

The increasing competition/ for the best colleges/ means more worry/ for students and parents. They wonder/ just what schools/ are looking for. They wonder/ why a top student/ is accepted/ at one school/ but not another.

The Wall Street Journal says/ some top schools/ are actively looking for students/ who have shown great interest/ in helping others. Other schools/ are said/ to be looking for students/ who have musical talent.

Some experts say/ it should be understood/ that the situation/ this year/ involves only the very top universities. They point to many other very good schools/ where they say/ students/ can be equally happy and successful.