UCLA said its accepted students had “demonstrated excellence in all aspects of their lives.” Citing its record 57,670 applications, the university proclaimed itself “the most popular campus in the nation.” Such announcements tell a story in which colleges get better — and students get more amazing — every year. In reality, the narrative is far more complex, and the implications far less sunny for students as well as colleges caught up in the cruel cycle of selectivity.
Get the Longreads Weekly Email
Success! You're on the list.
Whoops! There was an error and we couldn't process your subscription. Please reload the page and try again.