Who Didn’t Get Into College This Year?

Plus, news about America's most educated cities and a college charging extra for in-demand classes.

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Memorial Church at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

You can’t just be a smart kid with good grades and solid test scores and expect to get into the college of your dreams anymore. That’s the sad reality for the Class of 2016, many of whom will find themselves rejected by their first-choice schools this month as the nation’s top colleges continue to become more selective.

Steve Cohen, author of Getting In!, parsed the data and found “unhooked white girls” are the biggest losers of this year’s admissions process. Unhooked white girls, Cohen writes on Forbes’ website, are those Caucasian female students with really good grades and solid test scores, but no other distinguishing “hook” to set them apart from the sea of high achieving female students like being a concert pianist or star athlete.

According to the Washington Post, Harvard accepted a record-low 5.9% of applicants this year, while Yale accepted just 6.8%—making this admissions season the most competitive in the university’s history. Other prestigious schools that saw their acceptance rates decline this year, include Stanford (6.6%), Princeton (7.9%), Dartmouth (9.4%), Duke (11.9%), University of Pennsylvania (12.3%), Northwestern (15.3%) and Cornell (16.2%).

As Valerie Strauss notes, part of the reason for the shockingly low acceptance rates, which the colleges boast, may be because admitting a low percentage of applicants helps push schools up in college rankings, like those done by U.S. News & World Report which rates schools in part on their “selectively rate.”

But don’t despair: instead, you can read my story on why your safety school might be the smart choice.

Other education news from the week:

The Most Educated Cities in America
The Lumina Foundation has a list this week on the U.S. cities with the most college degrees per capita, as part of their mission to have at least 60% of adults have at least an associate’s degree by 2025. Some cities fared much better than others. GOOD has a list of the most educated cities. Topping the list is the DC metro area, with a 54.37% attainment rate, closely followed by the Silicon Valley area with 54.08% and the Boston metro area with 54.01%. See the full list here.

College Charges Students Extra to Get Into In-Demand Classes
In my Moneyland column this week, I write about Santa Monica College, which is rolling out a two-tiered pay system so students who are desperate to get in to a class can gain admittance, if they can pony up the extra cash. According to the New York Times, students at the California community college have long struggled to get spots in the most popular courses. Rather than continue the status quo, administrators will charge $180 per credit hour for the most expensive courses this summer, up from the current $36 per credit hour. Students at the college are not taking the fee increase lightly. They staged protests this week that were met with pepper spray from the campus police. Read more about incident here.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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