Letters to the Editor: Want to reduce applications? Make colleges refund fees to rejected students

Students walk and cycle on campus at UC Berkeley
Sather Gate at UC Berkeley, where applications for freshman admission this year hit a record 112,800 prospective students.
(Josh Edelson / For The Times)

To the editor: I appreciate the continuing expose of the giant college scam that students and their parents are still being forced to play along with in our society. (“Another record year for college applications? Please, no,” Opinion, Oct. 4)

However, rather than expect high school students, who have been assured that college is the only road to success and that only the top 10 campuses count anyway, to apply to fewer and less sought-after colleges, why don’t we require colleges to refund the application fees of rejected students?

Colleges would no longer have the incentive to get fantastically high numbers of applications and will be more forthright with potential applicants about their actual chances of being accepted. Prospective students would also broaden their college and perhaps even career searches.


Robert Rakauskas, Winnetka


To the editor: In bemoaning another record-breaking application year, Sara Harberson overlooks the real problem. The truth is that far too many high school seniors are not college material by any stretch of the imagination.

Yet they are repeatedly told they have a bleak future without a four-year degree. Saddled with onerous debt for a degree of dubious marketable value, they soon realize they would have been far better off pursuing a vocational education.

Walt Gardner, Los Angeles

The writer taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


To the editor: Sara Harberson deserves accolades for her piece about the college application frenzy.

With three kids in college and one currently applying, I welcome this glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in the opaque world of the college application process. Especially with a very high-performing student, one wonders how to sincerely estimate which schools might be the best fit.


If only money didn’t give schools such a good reason to be opaque about their application processes.

Amy Luster Mueller, Santa Monica